Do you feel like it’s becoming more difficult to save money? Rising prices certainly make it hard. Continuously finding more and new ways to save money is essential in making your money stretch to cover your needs as the cost of everything goes up.

I mended a pair of shorts. This is the second time they’ve worn through in this spot, but other than this spot, they are perfectly fine, so my son will get more wear out of them.

I hemmed a pair of pants (trousers!) for my daughter.

I gave two sons each a haircut and cut my husband’s hair as well.

Albertson’s had a loss leader sale of a dozen eggs for $0.25 (limit 2 dozen). You have to use the coupon on the app to get this price. The limit is per person, not per household, so my husband and I each bought two dozen eggs. On top of that, they had a coupon for $5 of a $5 purchase on the app, so we each bought some lettuce and a couple of other things, paying under $8 total for our purchases.

My new peach trees (save the one in the front yard) are quite small, so I am happy to have a lot of frozen peaches from 2019 in the freezer (which obviously need to be used up). I am using them in smoothies and used some to make clafoutis.

I look forward to getting peaches from five peach trees (two ripe in May and three ripe in July) in the future. One of the reasons I wanted to relandscape the garden was to grow more peaches so that I would have enough of my own to can. In a few years,when the new fruit trees and grape vines are larger, the garden should produce quite a few fresh fruits and vegetables.

I installed more drip lines in the garden, saving me time, water, and money over hand-watering plants in the garden. I’d much rather be inside when it’s over 110 degrees than outside watering, so each bit that I can add to the drip is a chance to be inside with air conditioning and under the fans, getting something else done with my time.

My husband replaced a broken valve. We are reusing valves from before, but some of them had issues. My husband does not enjoy plumbing repairs and I have hired people to do them in the past. I am grateful that he was willing to do this one. He also installed a garden-wide fertilizer system that will fertilize all of our plants through the drip watering system. We purchased this at the nursery on sale along with fertilizer, using the senior discount. I will still need to add some additional iron to the citrus trees a few times a year (which can be added into this system as well), but this will save me a lot of time and will hopefully make a huge difference in our garden growth.

I buried fruit scraps into the garden. I am working to build up good, healthy soil, and that takes time, but I figure giving the worms something to eat is a great way to ensure I have plenty of worms in the future. There are very few worms in the new soil currently, so I will be buying some in the future.

I used shower warm-up water, water from the air conditioner drip (we had a bit of humidity this past week!), water from rinsing fruits and vegetables (I placed a pan under a colander to catch the water), and water leftover in glasses at the end of the day to water potted plants in the garden. While all water going down the drain is reclaimed and recycled here, I have to pay for it each time it comes out of my tap, so I prefer to stretch it as much as possible. The water district has published on their website that they have raised rates as we deal with extreme drought conditions. So far this year, our city has received only .86 inches (2.18 centimetes) of rain. All grass in medians, shopping centers, and at entrances to housing tracts was recently banned (with the ban going into effect in 2027). Most of this grass was taken out years ago when they asked for this to be done before, but some still remains, and as no one walks on this grass, it’s a way to reduce water usage that won’t affect people very much.

My husband and I both had some work to do, and while we both work primarily from home, we needed the quiet of his office space. He’s now had a much smaller office at half the price of what he was paying before for a year and a half), and since his agents work primarily from home, this has been a huge savings (the law requires him to have a physical office that is in a location other than at home). We brought leftovers with us for lunch and were able to have a quiet lunch together.

I planted the new sweet potato vines that I grew from cuttings into the garden. I took more cuttings from one of the two original plants that I purchased and put those in water to root. Once they are rooted, I will plant them in a new spot in the garden. These are a great summer annual here. I think that next year I will buy a couple of plants earlier in the year, as soon as they are available at the nursery, so that I can take cuttings even earlier and make several plants for my garden pots.

I transplanted a Thai basil plant that had self-seeded in a pot where I grew some last year to another place in the garden. I am growing vincas in the pot this year and had a blank spot in the garden that was perfect for the basil plant.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. After taking our 10 year old granddaughter out birthday shopping, we noticed that our son had set out a faded plastic sandbox out to the curb. An idea was born! We love watching Self-Sufficient Me (from Australia) and his gardening videos on YouTube. This one about making a DIY composting system using chickens had intrigued us: So, here is a link to the YouTube video that started our compost with chickens this week:
    Here’s our version: Our chickens are really enjoying it!! No OOP cost! We were given 2 flats of free personal watermelons at our produce market for our chickens.

    On Saturday morning, we (Dave) cut a 55 gallon plastic barrel in half lengthwise, used 8 cinder blocks that were stacked against the house, waiting, and some scrap wood from pallets we deconstructed and a couple random pieces.
    And filled a bare spot in the yard with our 2 new raised beds for veg, herbs, strawberries!

    Happy to clear out stuff but even happier to see it become (as Winnie the Pooh would say, “a useful pot” ) 😉😀❤️And again, no OOP cost!

    I’ve watched several YouTube videos about fig trees and one showed how to recognize figs starting to come on your tree so this morning, I took a closer look at my little potted tree and WOW!!! I have little figs scattered all over it ! I am SO excited!!!

    I picked another bowl of raspberries today. We’re getting this many most mornings so we are quite satisfied!

    I had 5 more things come in to be quilted- 4 table runners and a quilt. (These will be #146-#150 for my longarm machine, Lenni!) Here is a photo of the first 3. They used the same piece of backing. I haven’t cut them apart yet.
    I was able to use my leftover batting scraps from past quilt jobs for the batting on each table runner without having to sew pieces together or cut a new piece of batting from my rolls! Nice to see that little stack of batting scraps getting used up!

    My rain barrels actually ran out of water and it’s not due to rain until midweek, so I’ve been watering it the last couple days with our city water. That doesn’t happen very often in the year and I’ll be happy for them to be rilled with rain!!
    Fresh corn is not on sale this coming holiday week so far. It wasn’t at Memorial Day week either. That’s when I usually buy about 5 dozen ears to freeze. In the past, it’s been about 10-12 ears for $1. Last year, they were 5 ears for $1 when I bought them on sale, but this year they aren’t even that low. I will have to start scouting around for better prices!
    I was able to get butter for $1.99/pound again as well as Philadelphia cream cheese for 79 cents each (limit 5 , using sale plus ibotta) and I let my daughters know about the sale also so they could restock! Still watching for condiments to be on sale this week at the price I’m willing to pay. Otherwise, I’ll wait. I’m not out so it won’t impact our menus for a while. When and if it does, we’ll revise our menu plans!
    We were able to cash out rewards points on our bank credit card which gave us another $10 deposit into our savings account. We are averaging $30-$40/ month deposited that way which makes up for the 8 cents/month in interest! 🤪 We pay off the credit card statement balance on time every month (we have it figured into our budget) and so we have no interest charge to pay.
    We haven’t applied for a new credit card for a year or more and so Capital One offered us $200 to get theirs if we charged $500 over the first 60 days. We figured out what budget line items we could use it to pay and so we are doing that. We will not apply for any other credit cards for at least a year or longer now so our credit rating doesn’t go down. We will pay it off as soon as the bill comes and then put it away. Because we are retired, we have more time to carefully keep track on these so we follow their rules and never owe interest. It would have been really hard to do when we had a houseful of kids and jobs! Even now, Hubs puts calendar reminders on our tablets/phone so we don’t miss a deadline!
    You’re right, Brandy, that it’s getting harder to find bargains, but I’m grateful that there are still ways to squeeze those nickels until the Buffalo squeals! Hope everyone is finding joy and positive things around them!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Always fun to read about your savings adventures, Garden Pat!
      I understand a slight touch of worry over how to handle credit cards, as I have it myself. That aside, you might consider how much of a great credit rating you need, or do not need, at this time of your life. I suspect you are in very good shape now. Opening more than one card to get those lovely bonuses might drop your score a little, but if you pay everything off right away and if you are not applying for loans, the potentially higher interest rate doesn’t matter.

      1. Heidi Louise- Thanks! You’re probably right. We don’t have any loans and I can’t anticipate anything we would need to take one out for. When we charge something, we always have the money that we could pay it off immediately instead. And home reno things, we have put on our Home Depot card when they offer 12- 24 months interest free and then pay it off in equal amounts by the due date. That way, we take the monthly amount out of our regular checking account budget instead of ever touching our savings. The good news is that the things we need/want to spend on aren’t big extravagant things! We’re pretty simple in our life.

        1. Check with your car insurance, though! My dad was a champion at swapping credit cards to always get the best deals (0% interest, cash back, whatever), and he always immediately paid them off in full, so he was horrified to discover that his car insurance went up because they considered rapid credit card changes to be a sign of higher risk.

          1. Julia- Thanks for the heads up! We will keep the card (as we do other ones) in a file box and once or twice a year use it to pay for something. We will pay the full balance off when the statement comes and file it away for another 6 months. So I’m hoping we won’t get pinged!

          2. I am not denying this happened, because I don’t trust insurance companies and know they check credit records. BUT I have opened many credit cards over the years for big frequent flyer bonuses, I charge virtually everything we buy in order to earn miles or cash back, I pay in full every single month, and I have dirt cheap car insurance. I have been doing this for over 25 years. Right now, my CCs are tied to Amazon (for online purchases = 5% back) and Bank of America/Alaska Airlines and my insurance, for nearly 40 years, is State Farm. So…it’s not a foregone conclusion it would happen, although I’m sure it did for Julia’s father. It probably depends on the company. I don’t think I would let the fear of higher car insurance stop me from earning CC rewards. If it happened to me, I’d be shopping for car insurance. If you believe the ads, everybody wants to save me money!

            1. Maxine: I looked up a little more about the practice, which I had heard of before, though I didn’t know it could also apply to home insurance. There is a correlation between poor “credit based insurance scores” and filing a higher number of insurance claims. Opening and closing lots of cards (but of course I have no idea how many!) is one of several factors in a credit score.
              Some states do not allow insurance companies to use such information, as it disadvantages lower income drivers.
              I think if I had a huge leap in my insurance premiums, I would check with my agent, as Julia’s Dad painfully must have done. Like you, I would keep going for the credit card rewards.

              1. Just to clarify: I don’t know how much this raised my dad’s rates (and he died a few years ago, so I can’t ask him). But he was an excellent driver as well as an eagle-eyed money manager, so I remember him being QUITE irritated that one of his money-saving techniques (carefully managing his credit card rewards) was causing problems for another (maintaining inexpensive car insurance). None of this was a major problem in my dad’s case, but I point it out because it can be another hidden cost of credit card usage.

  2. Burying scraps in the ground (pit composting) is a great way to build soil. I’ve been completing my master gardener continuing ed hours and I’ve heard a lot about building soil. Another more recent recommendation is no-till gardening. Soil that is undisturbed has more microbe life in it (usually meaning healthier plants above ground), and any roots in the ground sequester carbon (a VERY good thing).
    I saw that CVS has an app and from now through July they are offering a free item every week. Last week it was nail clippers. This week it’s a bag of chocolate candy. I love freebies! Safeway has free store brand fig newtons on their app this week.

    I hemmed a pair of curtains for a lady in my Buy Nothing group. Not only are items exchanged, but people can also offer, and ask for tasks. This took so little time and was a great blessing to the new mom who wanted the curtains for her baby’s room.

    I found the perfect under-dish-rack draining board at IKEA for $2.99. It is angled correctly so it drains well, and is also sturdy enough that is doesn’t dip in the middle. I also got toilet brushes for 99 cents. IKEA is an hour south and is directly on my way down to my parents, so I only go when I’m going to my parents anyway. Not making a separate trip saves a lot of gas and gas is expensive here.

    Wishing everyone a good week!

    1. Kara, I also practice no-till gardening (I also grow my vegetables between my fruit trees, so it would be impractical).

      What other methods do they talk about (besides addding mulch) for improving soil? I’m just wondering if there is anything else I could be doing.

      1. You do so many great things in your garden already! A few ideas: Adding a couple inches of compost and 3-4″ of mulch on top of that is a great way to build the soil. The reading that I’ve been doing says that if you do this you will eliminate the need for any additional fertilizers. Mulch also reduces the temperature of the soil, which is useful to me in Northern CA.

        Leaving all roots in the ground-so when a plant or vegetable is finished, instead of pulling it out, cut it off at ground level and leave the stump and roots in the soil. Soil that has roots in it is far better in terms of structure, microbiome, and water retention. This is certainly a new practice for me! The roots push out nutrients for the microbes in the soil, and then as the roots decompose they add organic matter to the soil and also improve the aeration of the soil.

        Using cover crops or green manure-plant these under other plants, or in a spot that would otherwise be empty for a time (like during the winter). I used fava beans and clover over the winter in places that were new to planting. In the spring, simply chop them off at the ground, leave the roots in the soil, and leave the cut off plants laying on top of the ground. This gives 2 sources of soil building.

        1. Thanks Kara. Unfortunately, none of these were new to me, but hopefully they will be new to someone else! Thank you so much for sharing.

          I have mixed feelings about leaving tomato roots in the ground. When we tore up the garden, we needed to remove all the soil in one area that was good soil that we brought in and have amended (with steer manure). I found grubs under all of the tomato roots, so I think I will be pulling my tomatoes for certain in the future so that I can find and eliminate grubs. Other plants might be different, but there were a lot of grubs, and I would like to avoid hornworms in the garden. We fed all the ones we found to a mockingbird that would come and watch us work each day.

          I am planning to do in-bed worm composting to add to the soil. I am rather excited about it. I am not quite ready to be able to do it but will do it in the future. This should be a great way to break down scraps even faster, and I can also add shredded paper from my husband’s office along with it for the worms to eat.

          1. I usually pull up tomatoes, and you’ve given me a good reason. However, leaving bean roots in the ground is a good idea, since beans also help to fix nitrogen in the soil. Not being an expert, I’d assume most of the good from growing beans (besides the harvest, LOL) comes while the plants are actively growing. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the roots continued to fix at least a little bit of nitrogen, in addition to all of the other benefits Kara mentioned. (Maybe someone knows something about this). I think I will purposely leave all of the stems and roots, except for tomatoes…most of the time they get left because I never got around to pulling them up. LOL

          2. Brandy my husband and I have been using Teraganix for about five years and we are thrilled with it. It is an EM-1 solution that nourishes both the plants and the soil. I purchase it from Amazon by the gallon. They even provide a recipe for using theirs as a starter and fermenting your own EM-1.

            1. Thanks. I checked it out. The organic one at the local nursery is about half the price, and while I thought it was expensive, now it seems like a deal! Still, it’s good to know what other options are out there. Thank you!

          3. I took a class on soil building, but as I suspect you know, compost solves a lot of soil issues. I also use worm castings, rock dust, etc. If you pay for some, make sure it isn’t mostly sawdust. Know what’s in it. Peat moss is endangered and as such expensive, lots of better options out there.

            I follow John Kohlers and he now lives in Las Vegas and mentioned a place called Viragrow for supplies there. I’ve found commercial landscaping places and even hydroponic stores have much lower prices than nurseries. Like 50% less or more.

            Also check to see if your city offers compost via recycle companies. Every single town around me offers free compost to residents from green waste — except mine. So can’t hurt to check.

            1. I have been to Viragrow. Their soil would have cost me about $6400 for the amount I needed. We checked it out. The bulk soil from the nursery was much cheaper–and not a lot different. In fact, I think Viragrow buys from the same place but charges more. It appears they then mix in a few more amendments for their most expensive soil, which is the one many people like here who just have a few boxes to fill. Some people swear by the most expensive soil at Viragrow. My neighbor bought too much and gave us some of hers, and I used it in my garden along with the bulk soil that we bought. While it’s darker, I haven’t seen a difference from it. I can’t see paying more than twice as much for it. Our nursery sells half sand, half wood chips (their mulch) as a topsoil. Viragrow has the same stuff but then adds a few more things in it for the most expensive one. It was still mostly sand and wood chips, though. It was cheaper to add manure, which I did. I think I should have added more manure, but I know adding too much can also cause a salt problem. Ideally, I would have added more worm castings, but they are very expensive. I use those around plants and am hoping to buy worms in bulk locally; I plan to do in-ground worm composting. I called the place today as they just have a Facebook page but no address listed. No one answered, so I left a message.

              Our local nursery is much, much less than other places, and they sell to all the commercial landscapers. I usually go when all the landscapers are there early in the morning.

              Our city does not have a green recycling program. Most people grow rocks, one tree, a few bushes, and maybe some fake grass. Landscapers pay to dump their cuttings at the city dump; I have seen them there each time I went to the dump. I think green composting would be wonderful here, and I have checked with the garbage company, but they do not offer it.

              The extension service has mulch, if I want more. It’s wood chips.

              I’ll check out the website you mentioned.

        2. Kara,

          I’m also Northern California (Bay Area)! Just wanted to mention, that yes mulch is great for many reasons, but if we can, leave some bare spots without it for pollinators. Many native bees especially depend on bare soil to burrow in to live. They help our gardens and can’t deal with mulch. Not sure where you are, but you might be interested in the pollinator posse out of Oakland. Their website has a ton of info via their resources page you might like.

      2. I plant Hairy Vetch cover crop in my raised beds in the fall. Excellent ground cover keeping weeds out in Spring as well as adding nitrogen to the soil. Chop and drop leaving roots in ground when ready to plant. I buy seeds on Amazon.

        1. Thank Pam. Fall is our main growing season here, so that’s when I plant the bulk of my crops.

      3. I read a good bit about fungi’s importance in the garden. I actually bought the fungi recommended by David Austin on their website. It helps form a network in the soil that helps transport nutrients and hold water. I put that in the ground with compost when I plant my plants and they do really well. I also read about using fish/seaweed emulsion in a foliar spray for plants. I’ve done this some, especially to plants that look weak or pale. If you spray plants very early in the morning before the sun hits the leaves with a standard garden sprayer and pay special attention to spraying the underside of leaves the plants can take in 10x more than through the roots, though mycorrhizal fungi help tremendously. I have seen plant perk up after a good foliar spray. It’s extra work so I only really do it if I think plants need extra help but it does work. I only garden organically and foliar sprays have helped me feed plants, deter pests and prevent disease. I have super heavy clay and rock soil and have to add tons of leaf mold and compost to give plants roots a chance. I love your garden and enjoy the flowers particularly!

        1. I bought some of the fungi as well for the first time this year and used it with my roses and a few other plants.

          The liquid fertilizer I bought for the fertilization system includes it as well, which I wasn’t expecting.

          I have been trying foliar sprays too this year.

          There is a fish emulsion that I can buy for our fertilization system. I plan to use it later in the system, but the numbers are very low, and so right now I’m using the one with the fungi and higher nitrogen numbers, which I hope will get my garden off to a good start. I really need the trees to put forth some branches. I have liquid seaweed that I have used as a spray and as a fertilizer.

          I really feel like I need to concentrate on improving my soil and fertilization so that I can have larger yields. The topsoil that we bought is only sand and woodchips. It’s much better than the lime rock and clay than we had, but it doesn’t have much nutrition in it. We added manure and worm castings, along with worms, to our soil in the past, and as we dug down our beds and took out (and moved around) soil, I could see where it was healthier and where there were more worms. Some places were definitely better than others. Those that had the most manure looked the best, but I know that too much manure can also add more salt into the garden. Composting here has been impossible, so I’m hoping to improve the soil in other ways.

          1. Milk – fresh, old, sour, made from dried powder – is good for soil, as is black strap molasses. The molasses can be bought in large containers online and at some feed stores. I know a rancher who dilutes molasses and sprays his grass pastures with it, to enrich and encourage it.
            Azomite, available by the bag, is good for soil.
            And if you want to read an interesting old book (assuming you haven’t already), a farmer recommended one to me called The Soil and Health, by Sir Albert Howard. Sir Albert became a champion of improving soil. When I saw the farmer again, and mentioned I had read the book since he last saw me, he grabbed my hand and shook it sincerely, saying he wished more people would read it.

          2. We use Scott’s premium topsoil throughout the yard and in the raised veggie/herb beds which is a dark rich screened soil that contains peat moss. An 0.75 cubic bag retails for about $2 here (precovid it was $1.79). I know you needed truckloads of topsoil for the garden re-design so this would not be cost effective for you, but have you been able to add peat moss to your topsoil? Peat moss is so good – helps with drainage, compaction, adds minerals, beneficial microorganisms, a bit of nutrients; it is slightly acidic though.

            I’m glad you are using liquid seaweed and thinking of using fish emulsion. As you are not at the coast, this will not help you – but we collect seaweed, dry it (we dry it along our bulkhead where we have pea gravel as it does get a little smelly), and sprinkle it on the soil. Also use wet seaweed around tree/shrub roots, and mixed with soil/compost when planting/transplanting. A friend – I have never done it – but she 0cassionally brings me some – who has acreage on the mainland (no close neighbors) makes a seaweed compost tea but it’s very, very smelly as the seaweed composts. Seaweed contains lots of trace elements, fungal and disease preventatives but is low in nitrogen and ph0sphorous; helps with drainage. We are allowed to collect seaweed here – if anyone is thinking of doing this, check with your town. We only collect from below the tide mark; do NOT remove from the high tide mark as it helps with beach erosion.

            1. Acidity is good. Our soil and water are very alkaline here (8.2 to 8.3). I know that at least half the sand in the topsoil we bought is local. It would be very expensive to purchase peat moss to add to our soil as we would just need so much; I have bought bags before but we would need thousands of dollars’ worth.

              I love reading about how you use seaweed in the garden. That’s fascinating!

              1. I commend you for all that you are doing to improve your soil since it is so difficult in the desert. My paternal grandma, who was an avid organic gardener, taught us about using seaweed in our gardens and how beneficial it is. She also used “pulverized” clam, oyster, scallop etc. shells in her extensive gardens – crushed shells added to compost and around plants add calcium & nitrogen, improve soil pH and stimulate the enzymes in the soil. We kids did the seashell gathering at our local beaches, put them in plastic bags, took them to grandma’s house and then the older kids crushed them with large rocks/hammers. My siblings, cousins and I all have great memories “helping” grandma in her garden doing these “nutty” things. To this day, I still carry a plastic bag in my pocket when we go for a walk on our beach and often will gather shells. Our grands are too young to crush the shells so DH has been assigned that role!

              2. You can buy compressed coconut coir in huge bricks much cheaper than peat moss. It has a similar function and nutrition value, I mix it in with my compost and top soil to help the mixture hold water. I have used this brand.

                It’s expensive compared with regular dirt but it has a lot going for it. I also found it is a great seed starting medium because it is so fine textured and doesn’t become hydrophobic when dry.

              3. Have you considered growing comfrey to make fertiliser from? It is a very popular method here in England but I am not sure how it would do in the heat. It’s rather a brute of a plant and quite tough though! Some people just grow and dig in others harvest and mash to extract the nutrients.

              4. I have read about this before but I had forgotten about it. I will have to do some reading again.

              5. I suspected as much re: peat moss. My late BIL added peat moss to his yard every single year, and he had most amazing gardens. They were raising a total of 10 kids over the years-6 of them theirs–and growing vegetables especially was his hobby and really a second job! His yard was definitely smaller than yours. I have good soil but slightly heavy and I have added both peat moss and compost. The problem now is I can’t manage to garden any more due to health reasons. I put some petunias in my porch boxes this year and that was it. I am going to have hire kids to do some weeding for me. The weeds make me crazy but I can’t keep up with the house, much less the yard.

  3. Happy Summer everyone!!
    We have had a busy week but a very productive one as well! I agree with you Brandy – increasing prices on literally everything make it more difficult than ever to save money. We keep doing all we can to make the best use of what we have, waste less, grow more, cook from scratch, and stock our pantry when prices are at rock bottom.
    The sun has finally come out here and the garden harvesting has begun. We harvested over 20 lbs of green beans, several tomatoes, yellow squash, green bell peppers, banana peppers, cucumbers, basil and parsley. We lost our oregano plant to the last heavy rains but I plan to sow seeds for more herbs this coming weekend. I have lots of pruning to do and am hoping to be able to tackle a bit of that on the upcoming holiday weekend.
    We enjoyed a lovely squash casserole with our garden bounty and pink-eyed peas from our harvest last year along with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. I purchased 7.5 dozen eggs at about $0.85/18 using the combo of a sale, a coupon, and our discount. I also purchased several packages of bacon on sale and froze them for future use along with two whole chickens purchased on sale. We defrosted chicken drumsticks and enjoyed the rare treat of fried chicken. A neighbor gifted us two large quarts of fresh blueberries which I froze. I defrosted them yesterday and made a double batch of blueberry muffins to give easy options for breakfasts and snacks during the week. I am noticing that are freezer stash is staying quite low which is a good thing as we will need space for the garden harvest but it does make me nervous as we don’t have the supplies that we had on hand at this time last year and prices continue to climb. I will continue to stock up as sales allow but there is a definite shift.
    We pruned the bushes in our front yard rather heavily the year before last and there is one that has regrown quite well. Its branches are now thick and healthy and we discovered that a sweet mama bird her nest in its new branches. We have been watching it all last week as there are four baby bird eggs inside! They are the most beautiful blue speckled color and we are excited to hopefully see them soon 🙂
    I have been researching swimming lessons for our son and have been alarmed at the prices – over $100/month for 3 3o minute sessions and some places required a membership in addition to that cost. We talked with a friend and his neighborhood is offering swimming lessons at $12/session and there is no contract requirement. This is ideal as we have been teaching our son and he has learned well so may not need a long stretch of lessons.
    I purchased some school uniforms this week taking advantage of the 10% off sale. I used fuel points when I filled up at Kroger saving $0.90/gallon. I cleaned out my closet and all of my drawers which was quite the task but is so rewarding. I purged many items that were worn beyond repair and hauled a large bag of items to be donated at Goodwill. My closet & drawers are organized and it is so lovely!
    Blessings to all!

    1. Wow! I would love to grow that many green beans! Is it humid where you live? I find that they do well in a friend’s swamp-cooled greenhouse here where they are also covered by hsadecloth. Mine tend to burn to pieces. I have heard about planting a fall crop here and I’m hoping to have better success that way.

      1. Reading your response just put a question in my head. Have you ever thought of a very tiny greenhouse for your yard that would shelter some kind of veggie that couldn’t take the Las Vegas sun?

        1. Yes, we have, quite seriously, and have decided not to do it as it would be quite expensive and we have limited space. It has to be cooled, which uses electricity. What a lot of people do here is use shade cloth over their vegetables to prevent them from burning. I have planted fruit trees, so as the trees get larger, there will be more shade in the garden. What we do plan to do is make several cold frames to get a head start on warm-weather vegetables. We are also planning to build a pergola, over which we will grow grapes, that will shade plants below it.

          1. Do you have a Harbor Freight near you? They sell a fairly inexpensive screen tarp that works very well for a shade however I don’t know how long it would last in your sun….

            1. We do. There are different percentages of shade cloth. If it’s too shady, plants won’t grow at all. The nursery sells several options.

              Because of the design of my garden, where fruit trees and vegetables are mixed together, it would be tricky to use shade cloth.

              1. Maybe you could make hoops of shade cloth to put directly over the vegetables at ground level under the trees? I see Gardeners world doing this with plastic to hold in heat in the spring, maybe you could take that form but change the function with different materials?

              2. That might be a way to fit them! Thanks for the idea! People usually make them higher here.

      2. Yes – we have high humidity where live just south of Atlanta, GA. The last couple weeks of rain delayed the tomatoes a bit but man oh man we have green beans coming out of our ears! Such a blessing and they are delicious to boot 🙂

      3. I live in St. George Utah and we plant our green beans by July 24 for fall harvest because it is too hot for them in a spring garden. Then it is a race to see if it will cool off enough for them to set and grow before they freeze. I would think you would have a longer harvest time in Vegas.

        1. That’s around the time they are saying to plant them here. I’d like to try them then.

      4. I a in a totally different environment in Alabma, hot but very humid. We grow green beans in spring and fall. They do better in less heat. I do get some to grow in summer in areas not in direct sunlight all day, better to get morning sun, then be protected from strong afternoon sun. In summer beans do not produce as many on the vine also.

        1. I think they are going to have to be an early spring/late fall crop for here. I don’t even know if spring is really a viable option as it gets so hot so quickly, but I hope to have a solution for fall.

          1. I have a friend that starts her green beans in pots and then transplants them due to short season where she lives. I don’t know if you could do this. She does it with bush and vine types.

  4. Growing all the fruit you can sounds like a good thing. I can surely understand changing things in the garden so that you have the spend the least amount of time outdoors when the temps are so high. Blackberries were gathered several days. I made a crostata with some, then canned some in spiced brandy &juice, which I’ll use for gifts. I was able to pick up The Kitchen Front at the library, and am enjoying it. While out, I picked up .49 avocados, and a couple of bags of pecans, thanks to the heads up here. From a stop at a thrift store, I came home with an antique bankers chair in wonderful shape for $20. A bucket of comfrey & nettle tea was started for garden fertilizer. Neighbors gifted us cucumbers, squash and a cabbage. We shared garlic, onions and soap with them. Our first two tomatoes were harvested. The a/c system and parts were finally here last week. My husband worked on the electrical portion and removed the old air handler. Then on Saturday, we installed all the new ductwork, as it needed a larger diameter than the old system. By that afternoon, we had working a/c, just in time for hotter temps. I was excited to find out that I won a $50 credit in a drawing our electric co-op had for participants in the annual meeting, which will go towards our next bill. I’m happy to learn from everyone here, as always.

  5. Had a .05 off gas reward I used. Saved $2.

    Amazon had The Handmaids Tale and The Testaments for $14.70 on prime day as a boxed set(paperbacks). I had 2.25 left in my gift card balance that I used towards it.

    My mom sent over a jar of spaghetti sauce, deli ham, and a sample bag from Walmart with craisins, downy unstoppable, drink mix and 3 pairs of sunglasses (listed those on a buy nothing site).

    Used $10 coupon for hubby’s birthday cupcakes

    The boy paid for his birthday dinner. I did give him a $25 gc I had to help with cost.

    Sold music stand for $5 since the 14yo isn’t continuing with band in high school.

    I’ve noticed with the new ac unit, I’m not running the one in the bedroom or kitchen as much. (The new one is supposed to cover 500 square feet and our house is 900 sq feet.

    Returned a library book on time and rechecked out ones I weren’t going to finish in time.

    The guys went fishing Saturday evening, so I picked up a Little Cesar’s pizza for the 14yo and I, and used a coupon for free crazy bread. We had pizza, ice cream, and watched scary movies.

    Washed all the laundry in one day(the coolest of the week)

  6. We have Las Vegas type temps here this week which I am not really enjoying. Looked for a bedroom air conditioner this a.m. and of course they are all sold out. I have been cooling the house each morning and sleeping in the basement to feel more comfortable. Best buy this week was BBQ sauce for .47 per bottle. I have scallions ready to pick in the garden-and some other veggies and fruit coming along. My DH received a nice email this a.m. telling him that he would receive regular paid hrs for July as well, even though he is off-he works at a school. A very nice surprise. DH is out today getting blood tests, ECG and hip Xray in prep for his hip replacement in August. It will be day surgery(anterior incision) and he is hoping he can have spinal anesthesia instead of a general which would speed up recovery hopefully-he is very laid back and says hearing the saw cut his bone would not bother him.

    1. Your hubby is brave! They offered me the spinal when I had knee surgery a couple of years ago but I told them to “knock me out”! It’s a good thing they did – the golf ball sized obstruction (loose cartilage that had clumped together) took quite a bit of digging to get out – best I knew nothing!

      Although, when my dad had surgery for bladder cancer – tumours were on the outside of the bladder and they were zapping them via a probe through the penis – he chose a spinal – watched the whole procedure on the monitor that the surgeon used and chatted to him the whole time! My dad was tough!

    2. Just an FYI, I work in orthopedics and handle the joint replacement patients on the floor at my hospital. To go home after surgery typically you have to be able to pass PT/OT and then the kicker is that you have to be able to pee before you go home. It’s not uncommon with spinals for that to take time and with men it can be very slow to “wake up.” Sometimes this effect of the spinal takes a while to wear off. So just be prepared. 😉

    3. I,
      Growing up our family slept in the basement during heat waves. It was finished with a loveseat and a bookcase holding a small black and white tv. We were allowed to build forts, hang hammocks or a nest of our imagination and it was so much fun. Thank you for reminding me of those memories!

  7. I forgot to say that DH brought home a jar of tahini at the end of the school year-used in the after school care snack program. So today I decided to make some hummus-which was quite inexpensive and very tasty at lunch.

  8. We spent a very long day last Monday at the hospital taking care of all the pre-op requirements for my husband’s knee-replacement surgery. One was a two-hour joint replacement class which was very interesting and enlightening and included a full breakfast. We also received a 10% discount in the hospital restaurant, so we had a late lunch there. This is not typical hospital food – it is delicious and very affordable, so a real treat (And brought home leftovers for my husband’s lunch the next day). Even though it was a long day (we left the house at 7 and got home about 6) I appreciated that they scheduled everything for one day, since we live 45 minutes away. I also had my mammogram while I was there.
    Jo-ann’s had all their remnants marked 75% off, so I bought four large pieces of a yard or more. One was a piece of embroidered denim that was originally $27 a yard. I spent $12 total and think I can get four different items of clothing from what I purchased. So far I’ve sewn a skirt and a coordinating T-shirt.
    This week’s freebie from Safeway was frozen pizza, so I picked that up, along with sale blueberries, strawberries, and boxed mac and cheese. I usually make mac and cheese from scratch, but for quick lunches or for camping, I like Annie’s and it was 69 cents a box. I froze the berries. I made homemade sandwich bread and rolls, a batch of yogurt, and a birthday cake for my husband.
    We split and stacked a cord of firewood. About 3 more to go. Knowing my husband would be having knee surgery this summer, we cut all the wood last summer, so it’s nice and dry. Our gas company notified us they are raising rates considerably, so the firewood will help us come heating season.
    While we were in town Monday we had to wait a couple of hours for an appointment, so we went to the library. We were able to get library cards and check out a bunch of new books, and can return them at our local library when we’re done. And now we have access to more ebooks and downloadable audiobooks. Colorado allows you have a library card at any library in the state. I now have five cards and it’s nice when I’m searching for a particular book. They also share books across libraries, so I can request a hard copy of a book I want from another state library that has it on the shelf.

  9. Hello all, I havent commented in a while. I am looking to add to the pantry any way I can these days sooo I have been canning (in my insta pot) everything I can get my hands on! I have canned all the meat in my freezers, gifted carrots, green beans, leftover soups, and leftover spaghetti sauce. I cleaned out my pantry this past week and found some holes I will try to find bargains to fill. My cousin has a HUGE garden planted this year with carrots, green beans, zuchinni squash and who knows what else so canning is in my future for sure! A friend lives next to a farm and they have given us permission to come and pick marion berries, winter squash and pumpkins when they are done picking for the season. We are looking forward to making pie filling and jam from this along with any other fruits we can glean from neighbors trees. My mom lives next to a family that has fruit trees and grape vines. They have given us permission to come and pick from their yard. They have apricot, apple, green concord grapes(great for “Grinch” grape jelly) and raspberries. We are hoping to make a variety of jams and jellies to sell at bazaars this fall as well as stock up our families pantries. Sadly my moms peach tree has died we will miss the beautiful fruit it shared with us. Love to see all the great ideas here and hope that everyone stays cool and enjoys their summer.

    1. Gaila in the NW – I didn’t know InstantPot had a model that would pressure can for canning low acid foods like meats. Could you share which model you’re using?
      I use my 3QT instant pot at least once a week for cooking and love it. Would really like a model that could pressure can.
      Thanks so much!

      1. SJ in Vancouver, I have a Nesco pressure canner which is very much like an Insta-pot. I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! I push one button, it beeps when it is time to close the valve, then beeps when it is finished. It has saved me hours of sitting in the kitchen watching a regular canner. The problem is that I like to process a large amount of produce, then store it in the refrigerator until the canner is ready for more. (It only holds 5 pints or 3, sometimes 4 quart jars depending on the shape of the jar. I looked at buying bigger canners but liked the smaller size for storage.) You can’t control how fast it heats up, kind of like a race car, it goes fast, heats up quickly and cold jars crack. I put it on the crockpot setting for 30 minutes and the cold food warms slowly before it starts building pressure. However, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, some Insta-pots can do the canning feature and others can’t. If it doesn’t keep the pressure high enough and into the kill zone long enough, the food will spoil in storage. Botulism is deadly.

        New products are coming out regularly, s0 do research. If it doesn’t mention it has the canning feature, don’t get it. Go with one that is designed differently. Be safe.

  10. This past week was the second music camp for my daughter. My hubby and I also attended the camp each day, and greatly enjoyed the morning singing and devotional time, as well as being able to listen to the children play. The director has also organized a parent orchestra, specifically designed NOT for the adults who play really well (they are welcome, of course, but their main camp was last week at the camp designed for adults), but for the adult beginner. The parent who picked up playing a string instrument either when their children started lessons, or because their children started lessons. My teen daughter is my “teacher,” and she is MUCH more advanced than either my husband or myself—but she was SO happy that we were playing in the parent orchestra! I only got a few notes in each of the songs, but I did try! And grew. And had fun laughing with the other moms.
    One of the younger students gifted my teen daughter with a matching hair bow that they could wear the last day of camp. This is the community service day, when all the students go out and either play at nursing homes, or the public library, or anywhere the teacher has been able to arrange. My daughter played at a very small nursing home that is in a house. Probably eight or ten residents in the entire facility. The glow on one grandma’s face especially thrilled my heart. I learned later that when she was younger, she used to be a church organist, so music was obviously important to her. I was delighted my daughter was able to help bring her joy that day.
    I also ran to Aldi’s for fresh fruit to get us through the week, and dried catnip and spearmint from my little pots on the back porch.
    Our one blueberry bush gave us four cereal bowls full of blueberries, and I picked two zucchini’s from our garden.
    Pictures and more on my blog here:
    Looking forward to reading what everyone is up to!

    Susan M. In Chattanooga, TN

    1. Susan,
      Music camp sounds like fun! I loved your story, especially the joy at the nursing home because of the music!

  11. Beautiful pictures, as always! Brandy, I am wearing a pair of shorts right now that were a pair of worn-out jeans. This is their second year as shorts. I don’t expect them to last much longer…but when I cut them off, I wondered if it was worth the effort.

    I hope that everyone is having a good week. Thinking of our sisters in Portland and Seattle. A lot of homes in the Pacific NW do NOT have air conditioning.

    We had 100F plus weather over the weekend (and Ironman was here Sunday) with another week of hotter weather forecast (106F is predicted today). We saved money by staying home, enjoying the air conditioning and watching Weekend at Bernie’s, LOL. We are using ceiling fans to reduce some of the need for AC. I did quite a bit of cooking…made macaroni salad, pea salad and pulled pork so we would have leftovers for other meals. (We finished the pea salad for lunch).

    I picked another 4 lbs. 14 oz. of strawberries, then 1 lb. 12 oz., for a total of 13 lbs. 9 oz. so far. All this from a little raised bed. I am expecting another good picking this week, then a few late berries as they ripen. I made another batch of strawberry freezer jam as well as strawberry shortcake and lots of sliced berries morning, noon and night.

    I read The Huntress by Kate Quinn (about post-WW2 Nazi hunters) and reserved two more books online. The Huntress was good, but IMHO not as good as The Rose Code. I was disappointed that the reader never learns the criminal’s motivation. She was just evil.

    I am mindful of rising prices and stocking up when and where I can. At Winco, which doesn’t advertise, I found barbecue sauce for .99 and had a coupon for $1 off three. Also, they had 12 ounce packages of bacon for $1.88, but the shelf was empty. I asked (it always pays to ask) if they had more in the back room. They did! I bought 7 packages.

    Our church has an espresso stand called HeBrews (love that!). The profits are donated to international clean water projects. We ordered drinks Sunday and discovered that someone had paid it forward and bought our drinks! (We will do this next week).

  12. It was the last week to have my grandson. We paid for him to get swim lessons. He was petrified going the 1st day, thinking he was going to his drowning appointment in the deep end if the pool. Parents were not allowed to stay and when he got there the lady was WONDERFUL and when I picked him up he was a different kid. 2nd day he sang “We’re almost there, to my swimming lesson” the whole 20 minute ride there. I took him to our pool each afternoon and he made friends with some neighbor kids.

    * Thursday was my grandson 5th birthday. The lions club put on a kid carnival. It is 50 cents each ride and all are geared to small kids. My son and daughter came over and went with us and he rode about 6 rides and got cotton candy.. He loves Chick-fil- A so we went there for supper. My husband got a new drink that is lemon and icecream mixed in a shake and it is very good, like a lemon pie taste.

    * I mulched all our trees and hydrangeas. If you didn’t hear about the man who was found flattened in the yard by his wife-it was my husband. I went to see how my 2 beds of zinnias were growing and my husband had weed eated them all, thinking they were weeds.

    * ordered a pack of 8 replacement pads for my steam mop off Amazon for $12, then sold 6 for $12 on the yardsale site, keeping 2.
    * I made zucchini fritters. I grated zucchini, added gluten free all purpose flour, cornmeal, 2 eggs, salt, pepper, onion. Then pan fry in oil like a pancake size amount.
    * We took grandson home to Florida Friday and went to a store where I got farm fresh green beans for $1.18 lb. The cheapest I have found here is $2 a lb.. I also found green peanuts to boil. I didn’t know it is a southern thing, but on the way to the beaches you will start seeing boiled peanuts signs. People will set up on the side of the road selling bags of boiled peanuts. You take fresh peanuts in the shell and put in huge pots with gobs of salt and boil them. You put the whole shell in your mouth and crack it with your teeth and the juices come out of the peanut shell. Open it and use your teeth to get the boiled inner peanuts out to eat. I am guessing this description makes us sound like redneck hicks with every possible TV characture of Alabama, buy it is some good eatin’. We buy the green peanuts and boil ourselves, then package in gallon ziplocks and freeze. It is a good low carb snack. I also got 6# of Conecuh bacon at the store in Conecuh County. It is another Alabama iconic food. A guy I grew up with throws Conecuh sausage off Mardi Gras floats in Mobile each year. And we stopped at Peach Park- famous for their Chilton County peaches. I just got a small basket to bring to the lady that kept our dog.
    * I am canning green beans today. I will use the water in the canner to cook the boiled peanuts when I am finished.
    *Buy red linens, decor, candles, etc as you can use it for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Valentines Day, 4th of July, and Christmas.
    * I have a bunch of food cardboard boxes I am going to tear down and put around my 4 fruit trees I planted around my patio with fountain. I eventually want some roses and to plant bulbs, but those need to wait. So I am putting the boxes down and spreading mulch to start killing the grass and later I can add the plantings.
    * Hope this is OK to post. I have been reading back through frugal forums where people post ideas and what they did, just like on Brandys page here. On Homesteading Today there is a section called Countryside Families and then in that section you find Tightwad Tips. They archive after a month so you can find older years. I have been looking at May through August going back years and being reminded of things I know, learning new things, and being encouraged to keep on finding ways to use food, garden, save what I can. I also recommend looking through Brandy’s old posts and reading comments as a refresher.

    1. I am growing peanuts for the first time this year. That was very interesting!

    2. Bama
      Holly I live in Etowah County and we have boiled peanuts sold in some of our quick shops. I’ve made my own and they were great. I like the hot ones sold in a can at Walmart, too.

      1. we freeze in gallon bags after cooking. Then just get out of the freezer and put in a pot of water to boil and thaw. They taste just like you just cooked them, not frozen. We usually get a huge sick the size of a pillowcase and do in a huge outdoor pot on the turkey fryer propane unit.

    3. That is my old forum! I always loved the Tightwad Tips threads!!! So much great info over many years. I also have those threads on my new site. I was so surprised to see it mentioned here.

      1. oh, Melissa, you’re like an old friend. I wonder if any others are on here…..Manygoatsnmore, Mid_TN- Mama, and may others that were such great teachers and encouragers.
        I 2as mom2accjk or momtoaccjk one. I didn’t post much

      2. oh my goodness. I just came across a link to a page over there where someone asked where people moved. Are you Melissa N?

        1. Yes, I started the Countryside Families forum back in 2001 then moved to Homesteading Today. After some issues there I started a new forum. I am not sure if I can post it here but I think if you click on my name it will take you to my new forum. Lots of people there that you might recognize.

    4. Your comment about your husband flattened in the yard for weed eating the flowers made me laugh out loud! It reminds me of a story some friends who now live in NC told us recently: apparently ‘everyone’ there mulches their flower beds with pine straw, and a week before their daughter’s wedding our friends had a yard crew spread fresh mulch around (before out-of-town company came). Two days later, Mike was mowing the back yard and when he came around to the front saw that his mother-in-law had raked all of the pine straw out of the flowers and bagged it up! It was all he could do to keep his cool.

      I’ve traveled through Alabama and other southern states several times, and once, after seeing so many tempting signs, we stopped by a roadside stand to buy boiled peanuts. I have to say that they are an acquired taste, just like our regional favorites are as well, I’m sure.

  13. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The water situation in your area sounds desperate, it must be such a worry for the authorities and for you as householders. As you get drier we get wetter ( UK) but reading your blog is making me even more appreciative of life giving rain. We are lucky not to live in a flood risk area.
    Great deal on the eggs!
    Positive things this week-
    I sought an estimate for professional upholstery cleaning of two sofas and an armchair and it came in at £420. No way! I hired a machine and bought the cleaning fluid and cleaned them myself plus a carpet and it cost £40 (and a bit of backache).
    I mended the hem on a pair of my husband’s trousers.
    I made 2 baby bibs with cheap cotton from my stash as an experiment, I used towelling as the inner layer on one and interfacing in another. Made some rookie mistakes and learnt some lessons.
    Ruby red grapefruit in Lidl were reduced from 47p to 35p each so I bought a dozen. I bought a small pork joint which was reduced and froze it.
    I used leftover pastry to make a fruit turnover with redcurrants and strawberries from the freezer. We’re trying to eat up last year’s fruit as this year’s is coming in. I keep butter papers in the fridge and used one to grease the baking tray.
    Picked broad beans, strawberries, lettuce, borage, sweet peas and sweet William from the garden and gave another bunch of sweet William to a daughter.
    Froze borage flowers in ice cubes to add to Pimm’s or elderflower cordial.
    Made a cake for friends coming to tea in the garden. They gave us 2 squash plants, a cucumber plant and a salvia and we gave them 2 trays of verbena and salvia seedlings (different salvia). My husband cut up a big plastic drum and made tubs for the squash. He planted out the last of the snapdragons this week.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. While it is bad here, it is much worse in other places. Half of the nation is dealing with drought, and much of it is extreme drought. Farmers are destroying fields and orchards because they don’t have water to water their crops. I am really grateful to be growing more food in my garden.

  14. Favorite frugal efforts for the past few weeks –

    – Celebrated Father’s Day and our fortieth anniversary by grilling kabobs at home, inviting the in-laws for sandwiches and ice cream, and repeating that menu later with DS. Ingredients were from the freezer/pantry or purchased on sale.
    – Two days later celebrated my sixtieth with a homemade apple pie (apples frozen last fall by methods recommended on this blog). My gift from DH is a compost bin constructed using wood he found free for the taking at a nearby Amish pallet shop. Husband knows I get extra pleasure from free/repurposed gifts!
    – We have been enjoying lettuce and peas from our garden and have been faithfully using up leftovers. Used scavenged cardboard and last year’s straw stored overwinter in our barn for weed control in the garden. Working well so far.
    – Hanging laundry as weather permits
    – Took a load of miscellaneous household metal to the recyclers and received $17 in return. Would recycle regardless of payment, but money back is even nicer.
    – Refurbishing a vintage croquet set found for $5 at a yard sale. It’s decorative to look at, and we’ll enjoy using it with the grands.
    – Purchased a 2018 low mileage SUV with money saved monthly over several years. No financing necessary, hence, no interest paid.
    – Went to Sam’s with a friend who has a membership and stocked up on TP, brown sugar, ketchup, limes, vinegar, and walnuts. Set for quite awhile.
    – Came really close to purchasing two new deck chairs for several hundred dollars. But, instead, for about $20 purchased two cans of Rust-oleum universal spray paint suitable for metal and plastic, etc. Used this on two shabby but sound hand-me-down chairs given to us several years ago by the in-laws. Very pleased with the results and the savings.

    Have a terrific week!

  15. Hello all,

    It’s been a long time since I commented on here. We have a family garden that we share with my parents and brother. Last week we harvested from our garden 2lbs of green beans, our first tomato of the season, 5lbs of blackberries/boysenberries, green onion stalks, 4 lettuces, loads of basil (1 extremely full gallon ziploc bag full), the last of our blue berries, 10 beets and 2 jalapeños.

    I have been Online price checking for meats to get the best deals since beef right now in my area is about $7 a pound and that’s just for ground beef. Found a place that had a flash sale for $4.80lb and I bought 30lbs.

    Been working on keeping our stock of supplies up. Ever since I started following you like 8 years ago or more to be honest I have had a stock of food to rely on and when the pandemic hit and it wasn’t such a big deal not getting certain foods cause they were out. But now I’m just trying to keep
    It up while not spending a ton of money since food prices are going up and also some prices have stayed the same but the packaging has gotten smaller.

    We also want to camp but have no supplies so we are slowly working on getting an item or two a month if it’s a good price.

    We saved money on baby bumpers for table corners by buying the pipe insulation from Home Depot for $1.97 and cutting it up and taping it to the corners with painters tape.

    We borrowed my dads snake parts to clean out our dryer vent. So that saved us some money that we didn’t have to hire someone and didn’t have to buy the tools to do it.

    We took advantage of our free community pool and played a couple of days in it.

    We are slowly working on gathering camping gear to go camping next year or the year after. So we made a plan and will be on the lookout for good quality camping gear. We plan to ask this week if my parents have any camping gear that is still good that they want to sell us. They are in their 70’s and have already said they wouldn’t be going on any more trips or camping with my moms bad arthritis in her knees and hands.

    Looking forward to reading more of peoples ways of saving a money. The food prices are what have me worried since we can’t raise our food budget any more. It’s already at $600 for our family of 4 and I’m trying to get that to be even lower than that. Since we can barely afford that.

    I think I rambled a bit there sorry about that! I love this blog and it has helped so much over the years! Thank you brandy for all of your wisdom!!

    1. Rachel, I no longer buy ground beef. I stick to only buying meat on sale under $2 a pound, and under $1 a pound if I can find (like whole chicken on sale, or thighs. I buy pork, turkey, and chicken.

      Can you buy dried beans in bulk and have meatless meals more often, such and bean and rice burritos and soups with beans?

      Your garden production is wonderful. Can you grow more in your garden? Can you grow fruit trees, nut trees, and grapes? Do you have a space to grow food on your own property as well?

      Are you buying snack foods? Can you switch to buying popcorn in bulk? Making your own bread and yogurt? Making your own salad dressings? Making your own popsicles?

      All of those will make a difference.

  16. I got some good deals shopping this past weekend. I got peaches for 99 cents a pound. I got red leaf lettuce for 1.29 a head That’s my favorite lettuce. It’s so pretty. I got two roasts on a bogo deal. We had some as a roast dinner last night. I’ll get two more meals out of the first roast. Beef stroganoff tonight and beef hash tomorrow night or the night after.

    My freezer is stuffed to the brim so we need to clean that out before our move. So that means I don’t have to go shopping much before we move. Our move is only across town so I can take everything with me. Yay!

    We went to the library last week and picked up several books. I read The Kitchen Front which was wonderful. Now I’m reading Grit by Angela Duckworth which is nonfiction about passion and perseverance. After the library we went to the park. My girls are older but they enjoyed the volleyball court. The next day we went to the free splash pad. It was hot so we didn’t stay too long. Other than that we stayed home.

    Really looking forward to our move. Our new house has a well so we can water the garden with that.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  17. Hello Everyone!

    I agree with Brandy that it’s getting harder to stretch a buck. I’m going to dust off my Tightwad Gazette anthology to refresh my mind on $ saving tips.

    I saw that 4” veggie pots at Home Depot are now $4.47 each! The best investment I made in my garden last fall was ordering an LED grow light stand. I thought about it for over a year and finally took the plunge after they sold out spring of 2020. I ordered one using a 15% off coupon late September 2020, receiving it In December. It was perfect timing to start Spring seeds in mid January.

    Because of my grow lights, I broke even after one full rack of starts. It has helped me get earlier crops from my garden and I assume later crops this fall. It was expensive, but had I done the ROI math earlier I would’ve bought one sooner.

    My husband built my trellis over the weekend. The cost was $20 for three 8’ long 1”x 2” boards, trellis netting and hardware. It made n 8’ x 4’ trellis that hangs on my shed wall to grow cucumbers vertically. We saved nearly $200 from ordering something similar from a garden catalog.

    My husband also installed the towel bars and cabinet knobs and pulls himself. We had some extra knobs and pulls from another project stashed in the garage. We saved $50 by using those over ordering new ones.

    I cut my son’s hair and made a cherry-berry jam from garden fruit. Plums are now ripening. I didn’t thin them soon enough so they’re small. We’ve been eating many fresh and I will make a batch of orange plum jam someone on this site recommend. Thanks also to the person who left a link to a good bagel recipe!!!

    I’ve been listening to library audiobooks on Hoopla while gardening and doing housework. Otherwise I wouldn’t have time and I avoid late fees. I always search for books recommended on this site as subscribers seem to have similar taste. 😍

    Finally, dressing rooms at Marshall’s opened up. After trying on 35 items I found 3 pairs of jeans for $16.99 each (MSRP of $98 each for Tahari). Yay!!! Jeans are year-round attire on the coast and will get a lot of use.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🫐

    1. If you grow tomatoes, consider pinching off suckers, root in water and plant some “free plants”. Also, a way to “succession plant”.

    2. If you grow tomatoes, consider pinching off suckers, root in water and plant some “free plants”. Also, a way to “succession plant”.

  18. -Our dryer quit working, so I am hanging out all laundry. We had a repairman come and it was a fuse so only $100 repair. So thankful as with the hard time getting appliances and the cost, didn’t want to go there.

    -Lots of weeding in the garden and flower beds.

    -Picked lettuce, onions, and kolarabi from the garden. Beans and peas are blooming. So are the tomatoes. Things are coming along. We are watering as we have had little rain as well in Minnesota.

    -Getting ready to spend a week (next week) at the lake fishing and relaxing. All meals will be made as we have rented a cabin with friends.

    -Did a big shop at Cosco for the week of vacation and stocking up. Did get walnuts for $10.69 for a 3# bag. Bought 3 for the freezer. This should last me a year, wanted to stock up after another person posted about the severe drought in California and the nut crop would be affected. At the grocery store walnuts were on sale for $2.50 for 5 oz. So that would be about $23 for 3#. Crazy, that’s why prices need to be checked. I also bought 2 bags of frozen cherries. I will can some cherry pie filling and branded cherries in the next few weeks.

    -Meals were: Chinese takeout(late lunch $16 for 2) at our favorite Chinese place on the way home from our daughters in WI. We then had popcorn for a snack that night; chili burgers with tator tots and green beans; pork ribs with German potato salad and a 7 layer salad; spaghetti with meatballs, salad, and garlic toast; hotdogs with macaroni salad and chips; leftovers twice.

    Have a great week!!

      1. Hi Elise – I have used kohlrabi in place of potatoes – peel the kohlrabi, cut in wedges, toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste and roast at 450F, turning about every 10 min or so until tender and golden, about 30 minutes. Toss with chopped parsley. So good. You can also peel the kohlrabi, shred and add to cabbage when making slaw. If the leaves are young and tender, can add raw to your salads; or you can saute the leaves just like mustard or collard greens or add to soups.

      2. Elise, I do the same as Mari, make scalloped potatoes and kolarabi, using half potatoes and half kolarabi. But we mostly eat it raw. Peel and cut into strips. Serve with ranch dressing for dip. I hardly cook with it as I plant 8 plants and they are gone very quickly. My grandkids love it!

  19. I hear you on how it seems to be getting harder to save money lately! We were ecstatic when my husband received a raise from work a couple months ago, but now we’re realizing that it’s basically just covering the extra costs we seem to be incurring across the board on, well, everything! While not all foods have gone up in price, enough have that it has really made a difference in our grocery budget. Even just milk, which used to be right around $2 – $2.19 is now nearly $3 wherever you look! And since we live more rurally and have to drive to get pretty much anywhere, we’ve really been feeling the gas crunch too.

    Also, random note—I’ve always wanted to be successful at growing sweet potatoes, but I’ve never had any luck with them. Is there a trick to getting them to produce?

    As for saving money…

    I’ve been taking advantage of the last month that the local school is offering free sack lunches and getting lunch every day for all 3 of my kids, I’ve been using up all the odds and ends in our fridge before they go bad (mostly, anyway), we’re using materials we have on hand to fix our mailbox (which fell down last week), and we’re combining a whole bunch of errands onto one day tomorrow since we have to make a trip an hour north of here. I’ve definitely been driving MUCH less than before to try and conserve on gas, since we’re up to $3.55 here!

    1. I am only growing the kind of sweet potatoes that are decorative. They are grown for their leaves, not for the sweet potatoes to eat. They don’t produce any. We don’t like sweet potatoes; we’ve tried them many ways and no one in my family cares for them. Hopefully, someone who grows them can help.

      1. Brandy,
        Some people (including our family) enjoy the sweet potato leaves sauteed and dressed with onion and garlic, salt and pepper. I don’t have much luck getting sweet potatoes though we like them, but the vines and leaves do really well.

    2. Torrie, the secret to growing sweet potatoes is heat and rich soil. They can’t bear any cool weather at all and it will stunt them. Wait and plant them late. If your ground is hard, they can’t spread out underground. Also, they do most of their bulking up late in the season. Wait until the last minute before digging them. I wait until after the first mild frost when their leaves begin to turn dark. This year I have planted some in big pots to see if they produce better. One last thing, don’t store them like regular potatoes, they will rot in a cool basement. They like darkness at room temperature. I put mine in a bedroom closet or under the cabinet in the laundry room. They can store that way until the next growing season.

  20. The yard work continues. A path that runs around one side of the house got cleared. Though I have little use for it, since the driveway is more convenient, it will allow for easier window washing and for painting the trim on the house. All the branches and other debris cleared from the yard have now been taken to the landfill, two pick-up truck loads. Yard waste is handled separately from household waste, so it can be recycled.

    I picked up surplus bread, hamburger buns, and double chocolate cookies from the food bank freezer, before it was sent to feed local pigs. The cookies were a little stale, but after I heated them up a bit, they were great. The chocolate chips turned a bit gooey, which was very nice. The grocery store is starting to give meat and fresh vegetables that are about to expire to the food bank, instead of discarding it, which is what they have been doing. The food bank manager has encouraged me to pick some up. She is afraid of ending up with too much. I’ll check to see how busy it is when this gets going. If she has more than enough, I will be happy to help her avoid the waste.

    The person doing my yard work left 18 fresh eggs on my front step.

    With the same hot weather that others are having, I set out early this morning to buy enough groceries to cover the heat wave. Since Canada Day is Thursday, there were no deals to be had. It will be a holiday, peak barbecue season, and the first day that there are no covid restrictions, so groceries are at full price. I focused on buying fresh produce, since this is the beginning of the Canadian growing season. I got a little ground beef at a good price, and a big pack of chicken thighs, which was affordable though not a great price. The produce manager carried my groceries home for me. She gives me one light bag to carry, so that we pretend she is helping me rather than doing all the work herself! It was a lovely morning and all the birds were celebrating a pause in road construction, so she had a nice break from being in the store.

    We had road repaving going on all last week, which was noisy from first thing in the morning to late in the day. On Friday, they put down asphalt tack, so the block has smelt like tar while it dries. They still need to put the asphalt down. Our garbage goes our in individual household wheely bins every Monday morning (even Christmas), but the road was blocked off. Some of us took our wheely bins to the edge of the sidewalk, but not right on the road, and left them to lurk, in case the garbage service arrived. Sure enough, a few hours after the garbage is normally picked up, a young man in a county uniform showed up and pulled the wheely bins onto the street, so the automated pick up could happen. Later on, I noticed he had pulled the wheely bins back into their exact lurking positions! A lot of service on a very hot day.

  21. do you guys have an Aldis? I save $20 a week shopping there. I usually buy hubby their brand of Coke in the 12 pack which are half the price for the real ones. he takes one to work. lately they haven’t had any. they stopped having their brand of Dr. Pepper a long time ago. do they carry them in your stores?

    1. There is no Aldi’s here.

      I rarely buy soda, and when I do, it’s the store-brand 2-liter bottles on sale for $0.78 from Smith’s, which is a Kroger affiliate. We use it to have root beer floats, but they have a store brand of Dr. Pepper as well (Dr. K) that is good. I’ve used that for floats too.

  22. This has been an interesting 2 weeks. We had my mother’s celebration of life ceremony on June 24th. It would have been our parents’ 74th wedding anniversary. There was good attendance, which kind of surprised me, as it was 11:00 a.m. on a Thursday, plus she was 98, and outlived most of her friends. We also got some legal issues completed while we were in our former home town. All of my sisters were there as well as all the BILs. One sister and her DH had a BBQ for the family after the service at our old home. We still own it, and have a friend housesitting for now. I made and brought 2 batches of brownies for dessert.
    Other than preparing for that, both emotionally and actually, I did a few things around my home.
    I picked lettuce and broccoli 3 times. Froze 25 cups of broccoli. I freeze it in one cup amounts, and then just pull out what we need.
    I picked snow peas. A little concerned about how the excessive heat is going to affect the new ones coming on. We are going to break records this week for all time heat. It is supposed to be 111 degrees tomorrow. Most houses here do not have air conditioning. We are going to sleep in our basement tonight. It is at least 15 degrees cooler than upstairs.
    We dug under a potato plant, and pulled up two small potatoes. We just wanted to see how they were doing. We put them in a raised bed for the first time. Much easier than our rocky soil. Used those, plus a few more in the house, along with onion, hard boiled eggs (eggs were bought on sale) and homemade dill pickles to make potato salad. This was just for DH and me. He loves potato salad.
    We went to a family wedding. It was held outdoors. The weather was gorgeous. At the wedding they were giving out succulents to the guests. There was a catered BBQ and an ice cream truck instead of cake. I would much rather have ice cream. Both my sons came to town for the wedding. My younger son stayed most of the week. He took DH and I to a Mexican restaurant on Father’s Day, his treat. Said he was also celebrating Mother’s Day. He then drove over to my Mother’s ceremony, and went to his home from there.
    In the last two weeks I only worked 3 days. I took my breakfast and lunch all three days.
    I weeded our onions in the row garden. Only after I went and purchased some foam rubber to kneel on. We have so many rocks, that my 67 year-old knees can’t handle it anymore.
    All of our obligations for the summer – weddings and so forth – are now done. I will have to go up to my Mom’s house a couple of times and start sorting through things. Other than that, work and maintaining the garden are on the agenda for the rest of the summer.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week, and to all those in the northwest, under the heat dome, I hope you find ways to stay cool.

    1. It’s odd seeing our normal summer temperatures in the PNW. We have air conditioning here, but almost no one has a basement.

      One issue to be aware of is that when it gets this hot, car batteries die. A few weeks ago, we had the alternator start to go out and the window fall on the same day. Then less than a week later, our battery died. This is normal here as they only last 2 years in the heat. My husband got a new battery in the morning only to have the radiator die that afternoon.

      My snow peas are done in April. They don’t like the heat and always end up with powdery mildew and burn to a crisp then. I plant them in fall for an early spring harvest. I wonder how this heat will affect your crops up there as well as the seed crops, as many seed companies grow their seeds on farms in the PNW.

      1. Brandy is right, the extreme heat is very hard on car batteries. I’m in north Texas and we typically have to replace ours every 2-3 years (and our vehicles are garage-kept and well-maintained). I wonder if car batteries are going to be the next “supply chain issue” item after this unusual heat wave.

  23. This past week was full of grass cutting in SWFL. My son and I have become a duo. Last Summer we payed $30 a mow for two properties. Once a week, is about $240 a month. This year I have made the decision to stop hiring it out. I’ve explained the financial aspect of this, and my son has started talking about having a lawn business at 12 years old. I’m glad that he understands the value of work and sees ways to earn income. He would also make far more mowing lawns in less time than he would working a retail/grocer job. We’ve also talked about him going to trade school. There seems to be no shortage of hard work in our country, but a shortage of skilled laborers to do it.

    On Sunday we took a break from mowing and went to a yard sale. It was toward the end of the sale and the woman hosting it, who we had volunteered together after hurricane Irma, told us to take what we wanted. My son received two new to him pairs of sneakers which are still in good repair. Also a puzzle and one or two card games. We ended up catching up and she joined us to mow the lawn at the second house. She helped encourage me in finishing the yard and house and selling. I appreciated her spirit.

    We continue to eat at home, avoiding eating out. I have noticed my grocery bill is higher. We have averaged eating out twice a month for the last two months and my son is home more. I am considering this in the higher cost in my budget for groceries, but have also noticed that food prices are up. I do enjoy shopping at Aldi where they sometimes have manager’s specials and mark downs, although I rarely see the markdowns, it is fun when you get one.

    In small wins I was able to fix my car tail lights – three of them after about three hours of work between Autozone and Firestone for the cost of parts. The manager at the Firestone was very generous in helping me assess what was going on with my car and explained how some car bulbs have multiple cylinders for high and low or daytime/nighttime and through testing we found part but not all of some bulbs had worn out. I was very thankful he took the time to look at this with me as a new part would have been $60 at Autozone. The manager did not charge me for his time or help.

    I continue to try and drive as little as possible to preserve my gas consumption. The increase in price overall has really worn down my budget. I enjoy reading this blog and some others and seeing how intelligent and deliberate financial planning can lead to a balanced budget.

    1. Ashley – I am happy to hear that your experience at Firestone was a good one. I am in management at Firestone. It is a GREAT place to work.

  24. I shopped Amazon Prime sale with a $150.00 credit ,I received for receiving an Amazon credit card. I had cancelled all my credit cards earlier in the year and got a Discover card. Having two different cards is all I desire. I went through all the subscriptions and canceled all of the ones on our account. We had several streaming channels for $99 cents and I set them to not renew. There was a book I wanted to read. It was available for free on the kindle unlimited. I subscribed to two months of that for $4.99./ It was cheaper than buying the book. I will download several others and make good use of my two month subscription. I discovered that one of the items ordered this month, my mother had one showing lost in delivery/undelivered. They reimbursed the $55.00 purchase. It was a good thing I looked. I bought the newest darling dahlia book for half price. I’m working on my sourdough starter. I’ve had a quiet week at home , as my mother refuses to come out from under her blanket. Its a sad time. I found a box turtle in my flower garden. Sugar cookie has named him Elvis. She is enjoying her change of scenery with her trip to Virginia. After 11 years, I finally have black berries on my bushes. I’m hoping to get enough in the freezer to make the girl a pie when she returns home.

  25. Keeping all of you in the areas affected by heat waves in my prayers. It reached 81 degrees here today (mountains of NC at 3200 ft. elevation) and that is hot for here but I am mindful that is is very uncomfortable (perhaps, dangerously so) in many places. Sending cooling thoughts your way!
    Am still waiting for The Kitchen Front from the library but am reading a book on the topic called Home Front. Apparently, it was made into a mini-series on PBS in 2015. It is a history of the Womens Institutes particularly in Britain. So interesting and with many great lessons for today.
    Continuing to be blessed by various neighbors with items they have in excess or no longer need – mulch for my garden, plants, some pots, and a lovely Depression-era relish tray and deviled egg dish (different from those I currently have).
    We have been harvesting lettuce, various herbs, Swiss chard, and black raspberries each day and watching everything else grow. The black raspberries are particularly fun as my oldest son dug them out of the woods 2 years ago and replanted them closer to the house and has been tending them faithfully ever since. They love the mulch of spoiled hay we put on them last Fall and have sent out new canes 4 feet high this year. The chickens are productive, as always, and give us all we can use and more to sell/trade.
    My boys love to be outside, swimming and fishing in our pond, playing in the creek and riding their dirt bikes with Daddy. We had a friend tell us that our kids don’t have to go to a summer camp, they live at one! We took that as a compliment. I hire them to help me with some bigger projects (like sourcing stones out of the creek for defining planting beds and keeping trails through our woods clear) but many things they just help with of their own volition. Today we vacuumed out our two vehicles and they had a lot of fun trying to suck each other’s hair up in the vacuum. I said, “And some people would think vacuuming out the car is boring!” Can’t have fun like that if you take your vehicle to a car wash. 🙂
    Hope everyone has a great week!
    We took our rescued-from-the-wall-of-the-abandoned-house kitten to the vet for her first check up and she is very healthy for all she has been through – just a little underweight but we can fix that easily. The vet gave us a “kitten kit” with a large bag of kitten food, a very nice stuffed toy, a sample of flea/tick/intestinal wormer medication and other goodies. We rescued another kitten from the side of the road last summer and did not receive this at that time so it must be something new they are doing. I think it is a lovely thing to do and much appreciated. Every little bit helps when you have several animals.
    My boys have had fun making new toys for the kitten and our other cats out of scraps we have around the house. A good reminder that it does not cost much to have fun and to provide fun to others (furry or otherwise.)

    1. The book is really informative and I think an excellent read with The Kitchen Front. I watched the show as well and was very sorry that it was canceled. It ended with quite the dramatic cliff-hanger, too!

      1. Everyone including the actors were so disappointed that Home Fires was cancelled. However, Simon Block the scriptwriter wrote a book to continue the story “Keep the Home Fires Burning” your library should have it.
        It is well worth a read. It continues the story line and is very exciting, it ties up all the loose ends.
        I have read it twice it was so good.
        Thank you for this site Brandy. It is a highlight of my week.
        Sending good vibes to everyone.
        Pam in Texas.

        1. Thank you! It looks like our library has three books by him, including that one, all available as e-books. I requested all three. I always wanted to know how the story ended! Thanks so much!

          1. I am pleased that you found the books at your library Brandy, I am sure you will enjoy them.
            As I understand it, there is a trilogy of separate books or, they are all combined into one ” Keep the Home Fires Burning” that is one I read as it gives you the whole story. I believe the others are the same story but split into separate books.
            Many good wishes to all.

            1. I found three books from the library but I am confused as there feels like books missing. I’m reading them now.

        2. Thank you, Pam! I just put a hold on it through my library, which is part of the Cooperative Valley Network (they will find you or buy you anything!). The book will be coming from the Calispel Valley Library in Cusick, WA, pop. 200. It looks like the person who buys books there has a special interest in WW2 historical novels.

      2. I will have to think about paying for PBS for a short time to watch it. Sounds good!

  26. Sorry my comment above got a little mixed up! I think a kitten jumped on the keyboard. 🙂

  27. We have set high temperature records over 100 degrees in the last few days. The house we bought this year has a heat pump, so we are grateful for the air conditioning… but, I’m scared to see the power bill next month!!! Doing everything I can to help the house stay cool on its own. Blinds are down, cooking on the grill and in my air fryer. My vegetable garden is loving the sun and heat!

    *I took my 15 year old son and his best friend (he’s like a brother, stays with us part of the time) to the mall (rare and special outing that I saved up for) to celebrate the end of the school year, and found that I trained them well! I gave them each some money to shop with and money to buy dinner in the food court, then I set them free. They texted 20 minutes later saying that they were already done. They both decided the mall was expensive and decided to save their money, only bought a small snack, wanted their water from the car so they didn’t have to buy a soda, They asked to go to the thrift store, where they each found games and books for only a couple dollars and had lots more fun than at the mall. They wanted to have dinner at home, instead of spending money at the food court. I was so proud of them for being good stewards of their money!

    *My husband and son love Reese’s candy, but I don’t like the price. This week I made peanut butter candy from items in my pantry, it’s like the inside of buckeye candy. It’s just a small jar of peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and a little butter. I was going to add chocolate, but it would just be melty with this weather. I have a huge container of candy for a fraction of the price of Reese’s! They are super yummy frozen!

    *I have been losing weight and really need some new summer clothes. I checked some of the local thrift stores, but couldn’t find anything. I was cleaning out my wallet and found gift cards from Christmas 2019 that I never used because of the pandemic lockdown. Also found 4 movie tickets that we received that Christmas. Now I will be able to buy clothes, and our family will have a free movie outing this summer! YAY!!!

    *Hope everyone has a wonderful week! So thankful for this blog and the community of support!!!

    1. That’s wonderful!

      I joined a local FB parenting group. A couple of weeks ago, a woman was asking what the trendy, name-brand jeans were right now so she could buy them for her son instead of (Her words) “just the Old Navy ones.” I talked about it to my husband and my 16-year-old son, who was in the room, also joined in the conversation. He’s not worried about being trendy. He just wants something in the style he likes. I’m glad my children don’t worry about name-brand jeans. They would much rather spend less on clothing.

  28. I feel for all of you in the heat and drought. We’re really lucky that it’s been cooler than usual– only about 85 during the day. We’ve had lots of rain, too, also luckily. Our amaranth plants have grown at least a foot in a week!
    We bought aluminum hurricane panels after years of using plywood. When we picked them up they were covered in oil so we had to de-grease them and wash them down. I already had Safer de-greaser which is environmentally friendly and unscented so we used that. Now we have to get our contractor to install the anchors because neither Gary nor I is that handy, unfortunately, but I am saving money by stripping the kitchen cabinets and painting them.
    I cooked chaya greens for the first time and liked them. I took cuttings to root for my up-coming plant sale and will be able to tell people that the greens are really good. I cut back the passion fruit vine (which has produced passion fruit, finally) and dried the leaves for tea.

    Happy week all.

  29. I ordered items to be sent to my granddaughter for her birthday. I was so surprised to discover that I had a $5 giftcard balance on my account and since the gifts were also clearance items, her gift, even with shipping, ended being the least expensive one I’ve given this month. I was delighted since from the last three days of May through the end of June we have a birthday or two each week in our family.
    Went into the grocery on Sunday looking for certain sale items that I knew would cover upcoming needs. Did very well and was pleased at all that we purchased, enough to fill a large reuseable grocery bag and under $35. This was at a higher end grocery as well, not at Aldi where it would have been far more likely to have happened.
    Decided to go through a box of books I’d set aside in late 2019 for donation only to have all donations shut down. I rediscovered a few books that I think will be helpful or handy to go through again, some I think will sell well and a handful that I will go on and donate.
    We’ve had pleasant temperatures for our area thus far this year, not as hot as usual. I am happy with my latest electric bill. Must say that the new washer/dryer and dishwasher we purchased this year all seem to be saving us electricity as well.
    I cut flowers from my yard. I don’t have many, just lilies and hydrangeas at present but they are pretty in my home and I am grateful for them.
    I continue to try and root little bits of herbs and plants and am excited at the idea of how many more I will be able to grow just from rooted cuttings.
    I plan to have a Nothing Extra and a Pantry Freezer Challenge month next month. This to offset some extra costs we’ve had over the past few months, plus to offset what I expect will be a no rent month from the house in town.
    I am continually looking at ways to use ALL of anything we have, our herbs, etc., plus to eliminate waste wherever possible. We are not yet seeing the high prices others are mentioning though there are increases here and there. I am practicing honing my current skills to better levels and learning new things.
    We did more work at the house in town. I did not get done with the front flower bed clean up but I got half of the biggest bed finished. This next week should see us ready to get mulch and plants for at least one portion. I will be happy to see this project finished as I think it will improve the appearance of the house overall.
    Most of my week though has been spent just deeply appreciating the land where I live. Each year we have deer who foal on this place and so we’ve been watching them graze on the lawn each morning and evening. There are a wealth of birds singing and rabbits hopping about and it’s all just so peaceful and pleasant. I’m also spending some portion of every day outdoors deadheading, watering, and inspecting my plants. I find that time of each day is so helpful in relieving my anxiety and stress overall.

  30. Brandy, I love this photo! Your photos are always beautiful and capture a moment, but this one speaks volumes. Last week you posted that you planted old seeds. I soaked some organic bean seeds from my own plants from 2014. Seven years ago! Five days later, they are all popping up! I have never paid attention to expiration dates on seeds, but this was a bit of a shock. Of course, I have read of seeds being buried for centuries, found, planted, and they grew. My husband and I went out for a special dinner…talk about sticker shock! Right at the top of the menu they noted that meat prices had skyrocketed and their prices would be adjusted daily. A 24 ounce steak was $47! Our special dinners will be once a year now, if that. I have a well stocked pantry and freezer, but think I should bulk up even more. Our one daughter and her husband will be moving back in with us due to a work/housing situation that is unavoidable. We are happy we can help and have plenty of room. Our house was filled with twelve people, and now it’s just the two of us. My daughter is very into the whole sustainable recyclable reusable movement (she learned a lot from me but has added modern twists to it) and I look forward to learning from her. She always says how much she learned from me! Life changes and I am glad we can adapt to it.

  31. Love the pale pink and creamy yellow roses – they look sweetly old-fashioned and look like they would have a nice fragrance. I have knock-out roses which bloom abundantly but have very little scent. My coneflowers, Rozalynn asiatic lilies (pink with white), purple salvia, lavender, and hydrangeas (mop head and oakleaf with pale pink, dark pink and purple flowers) are lovely and I make bouquets to enjoy indoors. Some of the hydrangeas have pink & purple flowers on the same shrub so the Ph balance of the soil is off I think due to the strong thunderstorms we had which washed away the soil. I haven’t decided yet if I want to amend the soil to correct the Ph as I like seeing both colors together. In thinking of your White Garden earlier this spring, and how much I like it, I realized my perennials & flowering shrubs ((oleanders, butterfly bush, crepe myrtle along with the Endless Summer hydrangeas) are in the light pink/dark pink/lavender/blue/purple color family so this year I chose all white blooming annuals -petunias, vinca, zinnias, begonias. Creeping jenny, bacopa, green sweet potato vine, perennial trailing vinca, and grasses are used in containers along with the annuals.

    Yes, have also noticed the price of food getting more expensive each week. The price of fish has skyrocketed the past several years. And we are on the coast! We eat fish 2 – 3 times a week – salmon, cod, halibut. I only buy wild caught and fresh from U.S. waters – which makes it more expensive. The Atlantic is full of blue fish and in fishing season we can get plenty for free from our fishing friends and family but we don’t like its strong taste – but we may need to learn to like it more. Luckily, in crabbing season, we can set our crab traps out and enjoy some crabs. Some excellent food buys last week included Vidalia onions at $0.79 lb – no limit – I bought 30 lbs – will hydrate some and chopped some for the freezer; they are large and sweet and good to use raw in tomato salads, blts, on burgers, etc.; and good to grill too. Fun fact: Vidalia onions are grown in Vidalia, GA and can only be called vidalias if they are grown there. Georgia peaches $0.99 lb – bought about 15 lbs to eat fresh and make some jam. Produce from local farms is now available at my grocers – organic kale $1.49 bunch; organic radishes $1.69 bunch; curly leaf lettuce $1.49 bunch; zucchini and yellow squash $1.49 lb – great prices but also helping local farmers which is important to us. My veggies all coming along well; picked blackberries and the first blueberries and planted some lettuce seeds. Enjoying fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme, and mints. Baked a peach/blueberry tart; blueberry muffins; chocolate chip cookies with granddaughter (nearly 8) who likes to bake.

    1. Mari J, I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. I tried to dehydrate onions and went well over the time, yet they still didn’t crumble. Is this normal? Thank you!

      1. Hi Laura S – I’m pretty much a novice at dehydrating – only started last year – so perhaps Brandy and some of the readers here may better answer your question. But in my limited experience, I have found that the humidity level of your location does play a role in how long it takes for food items to dehydrate. It sounds to me that you might need to increase the time as the total time needed will depend on the moisture content of the onions, how thinly they have been sliced and the temperature of your dehydrator. I dehydrated some of my vidalia onions last week out on our back deck when the temperature was in the high 70s with very low humidity. I followed the instructions in my manual: made sure that the pieces were similarly sized (I used the slicer blade of my food processor) so they will dry at the same rate; separated the onion segments & spread them out evenly on the trays. It took nearly 8 hrs but very happy with the result.

  32. Mari J, My Mum used to always make a casserole with frozen Boston blue fish-sliced potatoes, onions, fish and a cheese sauce-it was delicious.

    1. Thank you for the idea, I. I actually make a stew – as did my grandma and mom – with cod, onions, celery, potatoes that is so good. I never thought of using blue fish. Usually we broil blue fish (and drizzle with fresh lemon juice) which to us doesn’t really get rid of the strong taste. Will definitely try your mum’s way. And of course, cheese sauce makes everything taste good!

      1. Have you tried soaking it in milk for about 20 minutes prior to cooking? That should remove some of the “fishy” taste and odor.

        1. Hi Pam B in Texas – thank you for your suggestion – no I have not tried soaking it in milk – you are definitely correct as it will remove some of the fishy taste. I was just talking with my mom this morning about my aversion to blue fish and she said the same thing you wrote – she has always soaked it in milk and couldn’t understand why I forgot this as I was her sous chef while living at home. LOL, I guess I have no choice now but to accept gifts of fresh blue fish from our generous friends and family.

          1. And based on comments above, you should then pour the fishy-milk on your plants to provide them with more nutrients!
            Or attract cats, I suppose.

  33. Brandy yes everything is going up here in Australia too and like yourself it does require lateral thinking to keep those costs down as well as doing more things ourselves like repairs and the like too.

    The eggs were a great price as was the 5 for $5 coupons you were able to use for both of you as there wasn’t a household limit. Repairing clothing and keeping them serviceable for longer, doing our own plumbing work and growing what we can ourselves in the gardens also saves a great deal.

    Our savings added up to $ $1051.90 last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – We made all meals from scratch and 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread saving $10.47 on usual prices buying bread locally.
    – Did our grocery shop and used $10 off rewards to top up our pantry with 2 jars of Vegemite for free and earned another $10 off rewards for our next shop.

    Finances –
    – Banked more money into our 6 month emergency fund and home maintenance fund for future home repairs. We now have enough to pay for the two house stumps to be repaired, the two ceiling panels to be replaced and the shed beams to be reinforced.
    – Paid an extra part payment off our mortgage.

    Purchases –
    – Whilst shopping in a larger regional shopping centre we came across a River’s clearance store selling most new clothing items for $3.60 each. We purchased 5 long sleeved linen and cotton shirts, 3 pairs of active wear pants for DH and 2 kaftan tops for myself for $36 saving $163.93 on usual prices.
    – I also found that W Lane was having a great special on cotton linen clothing items for $4 each. I purchased 13 items of clothing for myself for $52 being 7 pairs of linen cotton shorts, 4 x cotton pairs of shorts and 2 linen cotton skirts saving $887.97 in total on usual prices.
    – Preparation wise we purchased 10 mini solar power lanterns for $15 to use in case of blackouts and a set of solar powered fairy lights for the back patio so we don’t have to turn on the lights at night when we go out there.

    Hoping everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  34. We have enjoyed produce that is on sale. But you are right, everything is going up! We have decided that eating out is just too expensive and I don’t feel good when we do eat out. So, we will utilize the grocery store when out. I could also pack picnics. I am trying to use all the veggies I have in the fridge before they go bad. I used asparagus that we had in there, it was a bit limp, and made soup. I froze the soup that we would not eat immediately for later. We have been getting rain, saving on the water bill. We utilize the library. Turn off lights when not in use. We have enjoyed learning from the internet. Youtube is great!

  35. I had a strange and kind of scary incident last week. I had been sewing that morning but for some reason took a pause to speak about something with my husband. So the machine and everything was laying there on the kitchen table. Suddenly I heard a strange buzz and I thought it came from outside as the window was open. I expected to see an unusual vehicle or something – but the next second my sewing machine started sewing on it’s own like crazy, full force! And the next second I saw smoke coming out from the pedal and that’s when I unplugged it and took the pedal (holding it from the cord) outside. The smell was horrible in the kitchen! I really loved the machine, it was a sturdy workhorse from the 70’s. It seems I am more into hand sewing from now on… I guess that was the frugal failure of the week!

    1. OH no!

      I have seen my machine do that–minus the smoke. And it’s scary. I’m so sorry!

    2. That happened to me. Scary. I bought my current machine after that ( at least 11 years ago). It has been great.

  36. It is harder to save money with the rising of prices. Our local grocery store used to offer many (but no longer)products of Buy One Get One Free. They also will display 7 ounces of the same product, with 8 ounces at the same price. Thrifty action this week is being the “nurse” for husband knee replacement this past week.

  37. Hubby and I went to visit our oldest daughter for 4 days. Her husband was away so it was just the 3 of us and the dogs. We went food shopping when we got there. We made our menu around what was on sale. We did splurge and get salmon for one night. We played mini golf one afternoon and then Hubby and OD shared a bucket of balls at the driving range. We went to a park that OD has been wanting to check out. There were millions of blackberries. So I went back to the car and got a grocery bag. We picked over a galloons worth. We ate some the next morning on French toast. OD and I washed and froze most of them for her freezer. The park also had paw paw trees, cherry trees and grape vines. OD will be doing lots of foraging. We played lots of games, did a fire pit one night, worked in her garden and talked. It was a very low cost getaway.
    I have been drying lots of herbs. Strawberries are done for the year. All I am picking right now is lettuce, kale and herbs.
    It has been hot here(not as hot as you Brandy) so all laundry has been hung outside. Gardens have been getting watered early in the morning. Still doing Ibotta and coupons.
    My freezers and pantry are full. Costs are rising so I am very grateful.

  38. I don’t have a lot of money-saving things to report this week. Much of it seems the same as in weeks before: knitting from my stash, reading library books, trying to keep up with leftovers in the fridge, yoga and running, time spent working on art projects.
    We did pack a picnic and went to a local talent show which was held in a community park. It was a nice night to sit outside and watch people perform.
    We hiked on Saturday, in preparation for leading friends on that same hike tonight.
    We continue to clean out my mother’s home and I brought some glass pieces home and listed them to sell. I also have some embroidery pieces that I can use in my art projects.
    Fortunately, we are still able to open the windows around 1:00 a.m to cool our house down. It keeps the AC at bay until the afternoon.
    I’m getting a small yield from my garden, although the voles seem to like to take my plants as well.
    I am trying to watch my driving and spending.
    Thanks to all of you for your great encouragement.

  39. My Annabelle hydrangea bush is in full bloom and has been providing many beautiful bouquets indoors. I planted it right outside my home office window so I also enjoy looking at it as I work at the computer. With a small yard I am learning that plants and their placement need to be selected carefully. I have gotten a bit creative with finding places to add edibles. For the first time this year I planted seed potatoes in two large pots that I already owned. Last week I harvested the first pot and was excited to see how many were in there. It was like unearthing buried treasure. 🙂 I boiled some of them for dinner and added butter and chives from my herb garden. They were so creamy and delicious! I made a cucumber, tomato and red onion salad with a simple dressing of chive blossom vinegar (made last year), oil and dill. Have also dried my first batch of thyme and oregano.
    On my patio I have two tomato plants growing in a container. When I bought one of the tomato plants there was a little vine in the pot too. I chose that one because I could tell it was probably a squash or cucumber plant. It has grown quite large and is covered with blossoms that I am quite sure are zucchini. Yay to a free vegetable plant!
    My husband was at Publix and saw a sign near the stuffed chicken breasts saying they were $4 off until a certain date that had just passed. He inquired whether the offer was still good since the sign was still up. The manager told him that if they forget to remove the sign after the date the item is free. First time we had heard of that policy.
    Two books came to my attention last week. They are Simply in Season and Extending the Table. Both are older cookbooks put out by the Mennonite community. I ordered them through Thrift Books and was happy to discover that one was free because of points I had accrued with previous purchases.
    Wishing everybody a good week ahead!

  40. The pictures are lovely as always.

    I’ve been using up odds and ends of meals very successfully recently. I hate throwing out food!

    I printed out several coupons on Swagbucks, which earned me a little for printing, and will earn a little more when I use them.

    Our little local paper, which is only published twice a week, has jumped $17 per year in price. I think I will go with the online version only. It is much cheaper. I would drop it altogether but I need it for some local events and it’s locally owned, so I try to help support it.

    My husband was gifted some nice knit shorts, but they are pull-ons, and he insists on a fly. I opened the front seam, found sewable Velcro in my sewing supplies, and created a fly with Velcro closure, which he will find much easier to use than a zipper or buttons, since he has one disabled hand.

    I’ve spotted a patch of purslane in my yard again. It goes nicely in a salad and is my favorite price, free.

    I observed three birthdays: in doing so I used a re-used gift bag and re-used tissue, reused bows, plain glossy gift wrap that I bought years ago on a roll of 500 feet, and three free cards that came to me in the mail. I bought two gifts, paying for over half of one with Swagbucks and catching a 50% off sale on the other.

    We started getting rain more regularly, but there was enough sun to hang out much of our laundry this past week.

    Brandy, your garden looks better with each picture. I have a question, that perhaps someone has asked, but I haven’t seen it: What will you do with the trampoline area when you no longer want a trampoline? My mind keeps thinking “pond”, but where you live, that is probably the last thing that would happen. Will it become a bed for plants?

    1. My husband wishes it would be a pool! I don’t know what we will do. My youngest is three so I’m sure we will be able to have a trampoline for a long time. We also have swings and a merry-go-round. Maybe one day we will have grandchildren who visit? I don’t know.

      I really wanted to put a pond in the back circle, but we did the math with pond people (haha. That sounds funny!) here in town, and the electricity alone would be about $25 a month. Then there would be filters, etc. The point of the garden changes was to save money, and this would not.

      I found out that ponds are now only permitted here that are half that size (it is an 8-foot circle). I had no idea about that until I read it yesterday on the water district’s website. I know people who have larger ones, but that was interesting, and it may be why the local nursery stopped selling pond forms.

      I would still really enjoy having a pond–even a small one, in a pot. Maybe one day I can.

  41. I read this blog every week but am a rare commenter 🙂

    But my big news for this week is that we finally paid off our credit card!! Halleluiah! 🙂 We have had this card for over a decade and it seemed every time we were making headway on paying it down, some emergency would happen and derail us. We finally, in the past six-eight months or so, got into a financial position where we were able to add to our savings while also aggressively paying the credit card down which was several thousand dollars, unfortunately. I am so thankful that this card is paid off, I just had to make the rare comment and share with you all 🙂

  42. I worked on two semi-weekly (2X week) newspapers and one weekly. Smaller communities really NEED these papers! Thank you, Jo, for sticking with yours, even online.

  43. I haven’t posted for a couple weeks, but we continue to plug along. I turned a pair of jeans that I ordered that I didn’t love into a pair of capris that I do love. Saved returning the jeans and buying something new. We took a road trip from our home in Minnesota to visit a couple of our kids and grand kids in Utah last week. Another daughter and her husband are away for the summer working, but kept their apartment, so we were able to stay there. It was hot hot hot, having the a/c off for two months, but we got it cooled off and bought a fan to help circulate the air. We bought a $200 Walmart gift card and left it for them to find when then get home. It will help them restock their food and supplies. We figured staying there vs an air bnb or a hotel saved us close to a thousand dollars, so we wanted to do something nice for them. While on our trip we just visited, played and splashed in the little plastic pool in the yard. It was a nice trip. We used hotel points from my husband’s traveling for work for the hotel on the way out and back. I continue to cook meals at home, use supplies I have to knit and crochet, and read books from the library. I ordered up some of the books suggested here last week and am excited for them to come in. I am thankful for the blessing it is to find happiness in the simple things of life. I yearn for life to be even more simple and need to work towards that. I appreciate everyone who shares here. It is very much a highlight of my week and gives me so much inspiration and motivation. Thank you to Brandy and all my frugal friends!

  44. Hello, everyone!

    I don’t have much to mention this week. Last week I did a large stock up at Target. They had a $20 off a $100 purchase, so I made a detailed list of items (mostly store brand food items) and combined the promotion with cartwheel offers and coupons. I was pleased with my total value, except I “thought” I was also getting a $10 gift card for making a $50 grocery purchase, but that was only applicable to order pickup. Details, details! I should have paid more attention.

    As usual, we are watching our electricity usage. I only run the dishwasher, do laundry, run the vacuum, etc. during non-peak hours.

    My children and I now make weekly in-person trips to the library. Last week I read “The Encyclopedia of Country Living,” by Carla Emery. I am thinking about purchasing a used copy, because I think it is such a wonderful reference manual to have on hand. I also read “Hour of the Witch,” by Chris Bohjalian. The latter was a real page turner, and I enjoyed the author’s style. The book is historical fiction, although I couldn’t find any google references to his main character being based an actual person. The author has many other books, so I am going to explore those as well.

    I received a Panera gift card for Mother’s Day. We have been putting it to good use on Tuesdays, when they offer a baker’s dozen bagels for $6.99, plus they offer a free bagel every day for reward members throughout the month of June. My kids love bagels, and I can’t seem to make good tasting ones myself, so this has been a great treat for all of us.

    I ordered and received some seeds from Baker Creek for fall planting. Shipping was free, and they included a bonus seed packet. I am hoping for a better growing season in the fall. We have had such erratic weather, that my vegetable plants are really suffering. I am making starts of several fruit bushes and trees, as I seem to have better luck with those.

    Have a great week!

  45. Gorgeous photos as usual, Brandy! I really like the close up of the flowers, where the change in colours can be seen!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:

    – I made chocolate chunk brownies ( with leftover chocolate bars from Christmas
    – I made fudge Popsicles (just froze this chocolate pudding:
    – I cut my hair and sharpened the cutter after
    – made chocolate granola
    – took my toddler to go for some free swimming at local outdoor pool with online reservations. My daughter’s swim suit is a long-sleeved swim sun protection tee from a friend after her daughter outgrew it, and a swim bottom purchased on sale (for $5 about 2 years ago due to a stain that removed when I washed itself)
    – I made my own mozzarella! Ate lots fresh and used the rest on homemade pizza.
    – picked mulberries from the garden
    – went strawberry picking with my toddler and mum. We had to book online to make sure the place could socially distance, and I chose a cheaper field ($2 less per adult, as it was the last time this field would be picked). It was a fabulous afternoon and my mum and I sat on the hood of her car afterwards, eating sun-warmed strawberries and watching my toddler run in a fallow field.
    – I save so much money by nursing (I know it’s not an option for everyone but I’m grateful it is for me, and it saves us so much)
    – I redeemed $20 in air miles for groceries, including maple syrup and milk.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  46. I now know what gardening in Las Vegas must be like now — it is so hot here
    my petunias are wilting as are the tomato plants. About a pond, they are a lot of maintenance work.
    I persuaded my friend that she did not want a pond but a pondless waterfall. The water recirculates
    down the waterfall to a small reservoir underground, then pumped back. They can be quite small and also
    can have solar operated, powered pumps. I watered for 3 hours to keep my 60 year old spruce trees well-watered. usually I don’t have to water them until mid-July but this heat wave is more extreme and probably longer lasting. An interesting special at London Drugs are sleeveless ladies’ dresses on sale for $39.99 reduced from $89.00. They are made in Canada. My friend has gone off to buy me too — I hope they fit. I don’t usually like sleeveless clothes but in tis heat they’ll be welcome. (they might be further reduced to $29.99). I bought a box of lovely tomatoes for $5. I have been eating them fresh but will put some in the freezer. Now is the time to buy soup so I bought several large cans for $1 for the winter. I bought small tins of flaked meat (turkey, chicken, ham), also for the winter. My pantry is almost restocked. I don’t have air conditioning but this is one time I wish I did have it. About the only time in about 4 decades. I had my second Pfizer shot last Friday. A few of the same side effects as last time but fingers crossed nothing major this time. Still working on the book — am just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel…

  47. Ground beef here is cheap ($1.98 a pound normally) so I buy at least two pounds each week for our two person household. Use 1/2 for burgers which I either share with my sister or we have leftovers next day. The other pound I use for taco/nacho meat or chilli or sloppy Joe’s or hamburger steaks. Once a month or so I get four pounds and make my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce. Always share with my sister and my brother’s family as we do not like leftovers from the freezer.
    I love nail polish and found a ton of pretty colors for $1/bottle at Dollar Tree. Think I bought 10 bottles. Saw it today at drug store for $8/$9 per bottle. Mine may have been last season but that doesn’t matter to me I just buy the colors I like.
    Our Sonic had electrical issues and once they opened back up you could never use the app to order 1/2 price drinks (I love Sonic drinks). App kept showing location as being closed. I called corporate and the next day app was usable again. Think someone probably just found to turn an indicator back to “open”. As my 84 yo mom says “It never hurts to ask”. Oops gotta go as my Ole Miss Rebels are fixing to be on new tv show College Bowl.

  48. During the last few weeks:
    *My dryer stopped working and my DH made a great attempt to fix it, without success. We relied on hanging out clothes to dry and it worked well for us…so much so that we are going to continue even though the dryer is now fixed ($140 and 1 service call). Well, we’ll continue as much as possible except for towels (I really love towels from the dryer!). My DH also now has a better idea how to fix this issue should it occur again.
    *Several times, I pulled together all the little bits and pieces from the fridge to make a good supper.
    *We have re-done our budget since we now have 6 months expenses; this new budget will allow us to save more money.
    *Accepted free strawberries from a neighbor; zucchini from a co-worker.
    *Years ago, we planted blueberries and though they have produced a few berries in the past, it was certainly nothing to write home about. This year, however, they have really produced! We have picked a gallon so far and there is at least that more remaining. They are tasty. We’ve eaten many fresh and are also freezing them! Exciting!
    *We are keeping our AC on 80/81 and will pop it down to 79/80 as we work toward bed (it can be hard for the kids to fall asleep when they are hot—me too!)
    *Accepted a free bottle of wine leftover from an event.
    *Taking shorter showers and I’ve started saving rinse water in the kitchen (that we are using to water bushes in the yard)
    *We have reached 100% of our of emergency fund goal!
    *Paying a little extra towards the mortgage each month.

  49. Love the photos this week! Wish you were closer to me in TN, I’d share some worms with you! I don’t know if red wriggler composting worms would survive in-ground in your climate, though?

    My in-laws left last Sunday after a 10-day visit, and I drove to KY & back home on Thursday to pick up my mom. It was an exhausting 14 hr roundtrip but I did not want to have to spend the night. She has been here for almost a week. We’ve cooked nearly all of our meals at home (other than lunch at the mall today). My garden has been providing lots of zucchini, yellow squash, lettuce, kale, and green beans. We usually get our first ripe tomato on July 4, and we have a couple that are almost there. I’ve been rooting my strawberry runners to get more plants, and have planted more seeds for a second round of summer crops. My container-grown green beans are about 10 times the size of the ones I planted in raised beds (planted at the same time) so I’m thinking about pulling up the small ones and using that space for something else.

    Food prices are on the rise here, too. For example, I was shocked to see that snow peas were $3.79 a pound at the store this week. I was so grateful to have still some from my garden, though the plants will need to be pulled soon. I have not been very diligent about picking up the free school lunches, but plan to make a better effort.

    Apparently my mother has developed a major sweet tooth because she wants dessert about 5 times a day. To keep her happy, we’ve made banana bread, zucchini muffins, zucchini brownies, rhubarb cherry crisp, crockpot applesauce….all from the pantry and freezer. For fun, we went to yard sales and thrift shops. Major scores at yard sales — found 2 pairs of brand new winter boots in my daughter’s hard-to-find size. Both pairs, plus all the other stuff I got (several shirts, a winter coat, picture frame, cookbook) all for $20. One pair is Totes brand and currently for sale at Walmart for $35. At another yard sale, I got my daughter a new 2-piece dress and shrug set and a pretty top. Both still had tags — total retail price was $185; I paid $10. We also found a yard sale where all the clothes were 25 cents each; we got several nice items. I enjoyed wearing my cute 50-cent outfit today. I love yard sales!

    Mom insisted on buying my kids new shoes for school which will be starting in a month here. I had a $15 reward to use, plus it was B1G1 half price, so that helped bring the price down.

    The fish pond was our frugal fail of the week. Ours was already here when we bought the house. It’s pretty and is a nice feature in our yard, but definitely not frugal. It is rather small (about 8 ft x 6 ft, raised on stone) and has 8 big goldfish. They keep having babies, too. They don’t eat much, so a bag of fish food from Amazon lasts a long time. This summer we had to replace the pump, which runs constantly, and frequently need to add chemicals to the water to keep it from developing too much algae. Yesterday we discovered that the water level had drastically dropped, definitely more than evaporation would cause. It was worse today. So my husband is pretty certain that there is a hole in the liner; we plan to replace it tomorrow. I would be happy to get rid of it entirely and turn it into a fire pit or something, but my kids just love the fish.

    1. I really, really want a pond and have a beautiful place for one now, but we didn’t put one in due to cost. I hope you find your leak soon.

      I have planted zinnias in the spot instead.

  50. We are in lockdown, so we’ve been enjoying games of croquet, soccer and badminton in the back yard. Also, the children went on a dinosaur adventure, with the dinosaurs “escaping from the zoo”. They had fun finding them all throughout the yard. They enjoyed it so much they have asked to re do it many times over.

    The children have also been doing a lot of painting, reading and craft.

    We cooked a chocolate cake together, made bacon egg and cheese muffins, spaghetti bolognese, carbonara, pizza, steamed vegetables, boiled eggs, sandwiches, oats, fruit smoothies, wheat biscuits, strawberries, green apples, lots of mandarins from our tree and bananas.

    I agree that prices are going up so I’m trying to modify as much as possible and be flexible to adapt. I’ve also taken on more market research sessions to earn more money however that money is not a guaranteed stream and is quite ad hoc. I received $200 for a 2 hour market research session I attended that was very close to home. I also received a meal and drinks whilst there.

    My husband took on 2 overtime shifts.

    I end the week with all my bills paid and up to date which is a huge blessing.

  51. It does feel like it is getting harder and harder to stretch our money. Times are tough for so many. I often share Brandy’s blog details with others. Brandy – I do wish you would write a book so more people could learn from you.

    For Father’s Day, we made brunch outside on the blackstone which was a gift from last Father’s Day. My husband made hashbrowns and fried bacon on it. We also made “eggs in a hole”. We even ate outside (early) since we would not fit in our “tiny house” and it would be 100 degrees later that day.

    Ways I have saved money are:

    · My daughter found apple trees in Kansas for $10 each. She brought two home for me and we got them planted before the hugest week of rain. (Sorry Brandy since you are in such a drought. Wish I could send you some!) We got nine inches of rain one 24 hour period and everything is so flooded. I actually wouldn’t have thought of planting apple trees but Brandy’s blog and the comments really inspire me, not only to stock up, but to stock up the food growing outside.

    · Was gifted two potted lemon trees and one potted orange. In Missouri, they will only be container plants but since I am from FL and miss it terribly, just having them is exciting!

    · Picked six yellow squash. Love to “stew” them and make dill “pickles” with them.

    · I planted onions from seed this year. First time growing onions and they are nice and big already.

    · I did wintersowing of most everything this year. I have cabbage ready in the garden. Trying to decide whether to make sauerkraut for the first time or just freeze it chopped. I have a recipe for freezer slaw I may try. I have a container of baby cabbage plants “idling” and will add them when I get empty spots in the garden.

    · A few cylindra beets are ready. I usually pickle the beets and make jello/beet juice jelly with the juice from cooking the beets.

    · Baked a loaf of banana bread with overripe bananas for breakfasts.

    · Cooked a clearance beef roast with carrots that were on their very last leg & potatoes and cream of chicken soup which my daughter had given me. (I usually cook roast with cream of mushroom soup.) I cooked it from solid frozen on high in my crockpot (6 hr setting) and it worked great. Delicious and we have eaten three meals from it.

    · Have been learning about crocheting w/ acrylic yarn around homemade t-shirt yarn to make rugs. Anxious to try one with stuff I have on hand.

    · Starting seeds for broccoli. Planted more cucumber seeds for sweet pickles. I planted black beans and trail of tears beans this year and all are doing great.

    · I am rooting a “sucker” tomato branch and trying my best to root roses from my daughter’s wedding bouquet. I planted a day lily and some blooms broke off. I stuck them in water and they rooted right away. Free plants are so exciting! Next, I’m trying to root hydrangea branches.

    · I watch a video about planting vegetables in reusable grocery bags in a kiddie pool (search “Larry Hall”). My back yard is a series of huge hills so finding flat space is tough and leveling raised beds is something only my hubby seems to be able to do. Finding ways to garden without needing so much help so I can grown more! So far, the baby pool/bags system is working on the patio!

    · Looking forward to seeing sunshine this weekend. That will be glorious after so much rain! But – definitely praying that those who need rain will get some.

    1. Gina,

      I read each day about the drought in different states. Kansas was the one state where farmers weren’t dealing with drought, but now you mention flooding. I wonder what will happen to the crops there.

      I bought 50 pounds of popcorn today. I don’t know how much corn prices will go up, but I want to be prepared.

      1. Brandy- I know we are in different parts of the US, but curious where you found 50 pounds of popcorn . I used to buy it in 25 or 50 pound bags at Sam’s club, but they haven’t had it there for a few years now!

        1. Winco carries it in 25-pound bags. It doesn’t pop as large as the brand from Sam’s Club, which I miss, nor is it as inexpensive as it was from Sam’s. When there was drought a few years back when Sam’s still carried it, we went to buy more to find it had doubled in price from the last time. I’m watching corn crops and thought it would be wise to go get some more now as we are very low and I think this is a crop where the price is likely to go up.

      2. Brandy- I’m actually in Missouri. My daughter lives in Lawrence, KS which is on the Kansas City side of Kansas about two hours from me. Our flooding has been in central Missouri and has been fairly localized rather than the the whole state. I haven’t heard about farm crops effected although for our area, the news said this summer has been the third rainiest on record. I think behind 1924 and 1985. Our creeks, rivers and lakes have caused most of the flooding issues with road closures and lots of homes getting damaged from groundwater due to heavy overnight rains. As long as the farm ground wasn’t in a flood zone, it was probably fine. My daughter in KS has had rain and steady rain but not flooding that we have had here that I’m aware of anyway. Wanted to add that info for you here.

        1. Thanks Gina.

          From what I’ve been reading, all but three counties in Nebraska are in drought and Iowa and Minnesota are affected as well. They are concerned about crops as well as grasshoppers. They are doing massive spraying for grasshoppers but expect they will still wipe out 20% of the crops. I think the farmers in Kansas may have it best from everything I have been reading.

  52. This week had its very fast and slow days. I decided to prepare some things to eat, freeze, and refrigerate using up some items and getting others from the freezer. Some things I made were sausage balls, potato salad, and enchiladas. I accidently didn’t separate some of the tomato sauce to pour on top before cheese and baking which made the fillings more moist and the topping had little meat bits in it. We liked them that way and they were faster to put together and less waste. I may do that from now on. I have been wanting to try Bok Choy and bought some and made it with fresh ginger and minced garlic. We loved it. I also baked bacon. I also chopped more fresh vegetables than usual for snacks and meals.

    I used a 30% off CVS coupon to stock up on hairspray for 2.72 and instant coffee for 5.24 each. We shopped in other stores for bag/wraps for kitchen and garage, supplies needed, fresh vegetables and weekly things like bread and milk. I also bought some Atkins bars and shakes and made some changes in my diet to aid in getting these extra pounds off. I wanted to go to Kroger and Dollar Tree but never got there. I did research to find DH’s recovery supplies cheaper (online was higher) but found a supply place that bills insurance for you. He called and insurance said they didn’t do that. I will investigate further on their site under home care. I find that hard to believe as many of the supplies they sell are used constantly by people with certain illnesses. It was worth a check anyway.

    Blueberries are starting to come in. Some were sold for a short time a couple days last week. I hope to get some this week.

    A frugal fail/wins was that I tried to get the fuzz balls off a lap blanket with a fabric shaver I bought at Aldi three years ago. The lap blanket had something besides cotton in it as it was very labor and time intensive to clear a small area. I decided it was not worth pursuing and threw it away. The wins were I love the fabric shaver, one less project to do, and the use from lap blanket was worth the two dollars I spent on it.

    DH and DS finally got to visit my MIL outside at the Nursing Home for 30 minutes. She was so happy she cried. They took some small peppermint patties for a treat and she loved them. I sent a pair of pants I bought and hemmed for her. I have another pair I bought to do and a pair of hers that are too long due to loss of weight. Who knew I would be doing this for both of us at the same time. They started two people visiting in a special room a while back but had to suspend it several times due to employees continuing to get Covid. It has been an ongoing problem.

    I watched a story on the Sunday Today with Willie Geist on Sunday morning about a farmer that got the word out that people could come harvest as much asparagus as they wanted for free in March. The people who usually harvest it for $13/hr. were held up at the border and he didn’t want it wasted. This was a large part of the farm’s income. He said that people in the US have no idea how many farmers depend on this labor to get food to our tables. I understand now that its not just a trucking problem that stores are having shortages on certain fresh vegetables. He also is a very large producer of onions so I guess that is coming too.

    I watched the following one night and found several parts very interesting. She has been on his show several times and I learn something new every time.

    Enjoy your week!

    1. CBS Sunday Morning ran that story about the farmer – he expected maybe a few hundred people to show up but thousands came so at least the asparagus didn’t go to waste. We have the same issue here as crops are picked by labourers from Central America and the Caribbean and special arrangements had to be made to get them in last year since our international borders are still very restricted.

  53. Went to a work conference at the beach. The CLE and the beach condo were paid for by work. I took my youngest son, and we stopped at Publix and bought groceries and cooked. The beach is terribly expensive this year so I did not add a night to our trip. So, trip was paid for. I was in conference and CLE all day but my evenings were free.

  54. For those who have Boy Scout Merit Badge books:
    They sell on Amazon real well. Some faster than others, but I left them up for sale and eventually sold all of them.
    If a Boy Scout Store is not close they are cheaper to buy than driving unless someone picks up other’s books when they go.

    English reading list books for summer and high school can usually be found a lot cheaper on Amazon. After DS used them I would sell them. We also found high school textbooks a lot cheaper.

    In college we were able to buy some of the more expensive science books and others on Amazon and saved thousands of dollars. Abe’s was also good at times. We sold them again after use. DS also sold some at school to people who were taking the class later than him. We also found a Bookholders near his college that sold and bought back used textbooks. That saved a lot.

    Some of these things helped save and return some of our money. Also keeps clutter away if they are not needed.

    1. I got my son’s summer reading book on Paperbackswap. He needed his own copy so he could make notes in it, so we couldn’t get a library book. On PBS you list your own books, then ship them to someone when it is requested (you pay for shipping). This earns you a “credit” you can use — when you want to order a book, the person who sends it to you pays for shipping. I only list small books or children’s books because they are so light to send, usually around $2. I’ve been using PBS for years and love it!

  55. Brandy,
    I just looked at the two Instagram videos you posted. Wow, the garden looks fantastic! Since I live in Phoenix, I was wishing the rain you received would come south to us…but it didn’t. Thanks for posting the videos, the garden design is just beautiful (and will do the job of growing food in a beautiful way). Just like your website phrase 🙂 Thank you.

    For last weeks frugal accomplishments, we stayed home and ate home cooked meals. I decide to spend more this month stocking up the freezer and pantry. Those supplies should mostly carry us into the Thanksgiving/Christmas sales. We also decided to replace our home computers, so that was lots of stress, but all worked out in the end. My what a difference a new computer makes 🙂 I used to type something, press enter, then sit and wait while the squirrels ran back and forth to fill up the webpage on the screen 🙂 Now I press enter and there it is. So overall the month saw us spending more money than usual, but we are happy that we made the decisions on both items (groceries and computers).

    Thanks again for posting the videos! I am not an Instagram person but I will go there for your videos 🙂

  56. I was just hearing that due to this extreme heat that the wheat crop will be affected and prices will go up. Now might be a good time to stock up on flour, pasta, crackers etc.

    I had an unavoidable frugal fail. Within two days, my phone line went down, my internet went off line, my alarm system went haywire and could not be shut off for two days, a lock broke. Pretty stressful but had a great repairman for the alarm system. As suspected, a hard-wired smoke detector failed thus continually tripping the alarm. I am having a second detector replaced to avoid the same problem in the future. The repairman said not to go wireless as the battery needs replacing every two years and they are expensive. I also replaced the battery in my old trusty system. My watering bill will be high this month. I didn’t have to pay for the telephone line repair as it was an external problem. Internet fixed at no cost to me.

    It’s been unbearably hot. Today was a bit better so I sat outside. Unbelievable butterflies. I’ve watched Swallowtail butterflies flitting about for a month but they never landed. I wasn’t going to go back outside today but I did and one landed right in front of me — its wings hadn’t been nipped by birds yet either.

  57. It was miserably hot here in the PNW for about a week. Three days in a row over 106 is UNHEARD of here in Portland. Most people do not have A/C so it was definitely a stressful time. We did our best (thank goodness we do have a/c in our 112 year old home) to keep the curtains drawn, keep the house dark, use fans to circulate air etc. I took the dogs out only when absolutely necessary, preferably before the sun came up and well after it went down for the night.

    The heat officially killed my snap pea plants sadly. I pulled all the remaining pea pods and blanched/froze them for future use. I wish I could have gotten more from the plants but no amount of coddling could save them from 115 degrees. Today I will plant beets in their place so I can have them in the fall to make pickled beets. I LOVE pickled beets and am very much looking forward to having more prepared for the coming year.

    I picked up 3 raspberry plants from my Buy Nothing Group which I will give to my mom. They just moved and she had to leave her garden plants behind and start over. It’s not much, but these will provide yummy berries for years to come. Also from my BN group, I got 4 fresh eggs from my neighbor’s chickens. I never buy eggs as I rarely eat them. So if I need them for some reason, I try to buy/barter them from someone in the neighborhood. They are just so much better!

    I made a large batch of fried rice to use up the rest of the random veggies I had languishing in the fridge/freezer: edamame, corn, peas, broccoli. I am content to eat the same meal again and again for quite a while so this will likely feed me for 4 days. Nice not having to think about what to prepare.

    Though this weekend is a long one for most people, I offered to work Sunday and Monday so that my colleagues who have young kids could take off and do something fun. I don’t mind, I’d be home with my dogs anyway (they hate fireworks) and the extra money will be a bonus in my next paycheck.

    That’s all I can think of for today. I hope you are all doing well and having a lovely summer so far!

    1. My snow peas are done by April. I wonder how the weather will affect the price of seeds next year.

  58. For those interested on you can watch the bears of Brooks Falls in Alaska. The salmon and bears should peak in the next couple of weeks after a bit of a slower start. I flew up there 3 years ago and loved every minute of it- and still enjoy watching the bear cams.

    1. It is a very interesting channel. I like getting to know the different bears and how they interrelate. Also, on a hot day, it is wonderful to watch the water running through rapids.

  59. I did a vermicomposting unit with my son’s Cub Scout troop. I used directions from Martha Stewart and used 2 Rubbermaid containers. We started with one small container of red wrigglers from the bait store and boy did they multiply. My blooming Flowers loved the castings too. Your youngest sons may enjoy starting a bin in your storage area, so you always have worms to add to the soil.

    1. I took a class on vermicomposting from the extension service. They said that the garage is too hot in our climate and that the worms have to be inside the house in the air conditioning.

      There is an Arizona gardener who does in-ground vermicomposting right in the garden beds. This is what I have decided to do. I have sourced a local place for worms; once I’m set up with the in-ground boxes, I plan to go get some worms.

      1. Looks like there are a few of us here that also hang out at Homesteading Families – hi, Melissa! I’m known as ‘moldy’ over there.

        Spent the fourth with family and friends. DH installed a new window unit – 2 window units are cheaper than replacing our whole house AC, and will allow us to ‘zone’ what we need to hopefully keep the electricity usage down more. Last week was lovely, but now we’re hitting the 100s and it’s not as much fun. I’ve been getting up very early (0500) so that I can work in my garden until it gets hot, then I go back in the evenings. So far, I”m staying up on the weeding.

        I am replanting some peony root that I’ve had in the refrigerator for a couple years (!!). We’ll see if it takes off or not. The garden is doing well, except for tomatoes and peppers. We think that the load of compost we got was contaminated. If ranchers use Milestone (or certain other herbicides) it will go thru a cow’s digestive system and continue to kill plants. It was an expensive in both time and money lesson to learn.

  60. Good Morning, Brandy.
    I’ve seen many references to your photography and am wondering where I can see more pictures of your garden and your beautiful flowers. I so enjoy this site. I’ve learned so much and have been viewing my yard totally differently. Looking fo more areas to tuck food into and expanding what I have. In short, this site is so motivating! Thank you for all your work on this site. It is so appreciated.
    West Michigan Mary

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